Teenagers More Materialistic, Less Interested In Work Than Ever, Study Says

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Money

Designer clothes? Check. Latest phone? Check. New car? Check.

And there’s probably more to that list that teenagers want these days.

According to a new study on the attitudes and values of high school seniors from the '70s to now by the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, teenagers desire more but want to work less.

Talk about an inverse relationship.

“Compared to previous generations, recent high school graduates are more likely to want lots of money and nice things but less likely to say they're willing to work hard to earn them," study co-author Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State Univesity, said in a press release.

Researchers determined teenagers’ value of material things by looking at whether they wanted a new car every few years or if they had hopes of being wealthy someday.

The study found that in the '70s, materialism rose substantially and peaked during the '80s and early '90s and has since to this day remained high, according to the study.

From 1976 to 1978, 48 percent of teens said they want a lot of money compared with 62 percent of teens today.

But the strange correlation is that teens today -- 39 percent, to be exact -- also admitted that they did not want to work hard compared with 25 percent of teens back in the late '70s.

“You're taught what's important and how to act by your parents, the media and those around you," Twenge, who is the author of “Generation Me: Why Today's Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled -- and More Miserable Than Ever Before,” said. “It's the cultural changes that are really bringing these changes.”

And what accounts for this change in values and attitude with teenagers?

Researchers point to two possible reasons.

One explanation they offer is that when children grow up during periods of broad societal instability, like high unemployment and disconnection, when more parents are separated, they will simply want more material things, a factor that Twenge said parents can’t control, according to the Huffington Post.

But the other reason parents can control. And that’s advertising, which parents can simply limit as much as possible, Twenge said.

Jerald Bachman, a research scientist and professor at the University of Michigan, cautions people not to jump to conclusions about the study.

“Many other forces could be in play, and one never is able to control all of those,” Bachman told the Huffington Post. “The best one can do is to try to narrow things down and be as specific as possible."

We guess that means no more "Keeping Up with the Kardashians," kids. It's distorting your perception of things. 

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