Can't buy me love? Anxious attachment and materialistic values

J. Ian Norris, Nathaniel M. Lambert, C. Nathan DeWall, Frank D. Fincham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Anxiously attached individuals desire but may not always form meaningful social relationships. Previous research demonstrates that money eases the pain of social rejection; Relatedly, people can form relationships with material possessions. Accordingly, we hypothesized that materialistic values may facilitate these substitute relationships in anxiously attached individuals. Study 1 demonstrated a positive relationship between anxious attachment and two different measures of materialism in two independent samples. Study 2 replicated this finding and provided further evidence that the adoption of materialistic values may fill a social void in anxiously attached individuals. Specifically, loneliness mediated the relationship between anxious attachment and materialism. These results suggest that anxiously attached individuals may adopt mechanisms to substitute relationships with objects for relationships with people, and that they might do so in order to deal with the loneliness that results from a lack of meaningful social interaction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)666-669
Number of pages4
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2012


  • Anxiety
  • Attachment
  • Economic behavior
  • Loneliness
  • Relationships
  • Values

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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