Purpose – The purpose of this study is to examine whether the development of materialistic values in early life reflects cultural norms or is the outcome of media and family influences. It seeks to examine the role of family communication and television, which were found to promote materialistic values in individualistic countries, by assessing their effects on youths in four countries that represent the Eastern and Western cultures: Japan, Malaysia, USA, and France. Design/methodology/approach – The study used an anonymous self‐administered survey of young adults aged 18 to 32 years in two diverse Eastern countries: Japan and Malaysia (total n=351); the sample size was approximately the same for the Western countries of USA and France (n=315). The samples were equivalent with respect to demographic characteristics. The Malaysian questionnaires were available in both English and Malay. Measurement scales included in the Japanese questionnaires come from available translated versions. The French questionnaires were subjected to back translation. Findings – The findings suggest that the influence of the socio‐oriented family communication structure on materialistic attitudes in Western cultures might be indirect by affecting the youth's patterns of television viewing. The findings also suggest that concept‐oriented family communication has no effect on youth's development of materialistic values, regardless of cultural background. Originality/value – The findings suggest that television might not be as important a socialization agent in the development of materialistic values of youths in collectivistic Eastern countries as it has been in individualistic Western countries
Journal of Asia Business Studies – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 26, 2011
Keywords: Family; Television; Materialism
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