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Self-compassion, the ‘quiet ego’ and materialism

Faculty Advisor




psychology, self-compassion, materialism

Abstract (summary)

The research is an investigation of self-compassion and materialism. Self-compassion is when an individual has a caring, non-judgmental view of the self. This quality has been related to lower depression, less negative emotion and higher psychological health (Neff, 2003). Materialism has been consistently associated with low subjective well-being and unhappiness. A related concept is that of the ‘quiet ego’, which is a less competitive, less self-centered individual with more concern with connecting with others and with personal growth (Wayment et al., 2015). Therefore, it is hypothesized that highly materialistic individuals will be lower in self-compassion and have a fear of compassion from others and towards others and that self-compassion and fears of compassion will mediate the relationship between materialism and low subjective well-being. As materialistic individuals are more likely to be competitive and individualistic, it is hypothesized that the ‘quiet ego’ will be negatively related to materialism. These hypotheses were investigated using a set of questionnaires with 423 undergraduate participants. The results indicated a relationship between materialism and fear of compassion for others and of responding to the compassion of others. Materialism was also negatively related to the ‘quiet ego’ and related constructs such as: mindfulness, satisfaction with life and generativity. Self-compassion, fears of compassion and the quiet-ego were also found to mediate the relationship between materialism and measures of well-being. The results are consistent with several theoretical explanations for the development of materialism. It is possible that increasing self-compassion, reducing fears of compassion and ‘ego-quieting’ procedures could be developed as methods of reducing materialistic tendencies.

Publication Information

Watson, D. C. (2018). Self-Compassion, the 'Quiet Ego' and Materialism, Heliyon 4, e00883. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2018.e00883.


Item Type





Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (CC BY-NC-ND)