Psychologists at Northwestern University have determined through a series of experiments that being in the consumer mindset – or in the mood to purchase material goods – brings with it heightened feelings of depression and anxiety.
In two of the experiments, study participants were shown pictures of luxury goods, like cars and jewelry, or words suggestive of consumerist values.
When both groups were later surveyed, those who looked at the pictures of luxury goods reported higher feelings of depression, anxiety, and disinterest in social activities, while those who were shown pictures of the consumerism-related words reported a greater tendency towards competition than a desire to perform selfless acts.
In two other experiments, participants were asked to complete a survey either from the point-of-view of a consumer, or a citizen.
A comparison of the responses from each group revealed that the “consumers” displayed more materialistic values than the “citizen” group, suggesting that labeling someone as a “consumer” promoted a more materialistic mind frame in people.
If you are struggling with depression, be sure to find the right doctor for you with Vitals, and read our Depression Patient Guide for helpful information and questions to ask your doctor.