HAPPINESS AND CONSUMERISM
Compared with Americans in 1957, today we own twice as 1) __________ cars per person, eat out twice as 2) __________ and enjoy endless other commodities that weren’t around then–big-screen TVs, microwave ovens, SUVs and handheld wireless devices, to name a 3) __________. But are we any happier?
Certainly, happiness is difficult to define, let 4) __________ measure. But a recent literature review suggests we’re no more contented than we were then–in fact, maybe less so.
“Compared with their grandparents, today’s young adults have grown up with much more affluence, slightly less happiness and much greater 5) __________ of depression and assorted social pathology,” notes Hope College psychologist David G. Myers, PhD.”Our becoming much better- 6) __________ over the last four decades has not been accompanied by one iota of increased subjective well-being.”
These findings emerge at a time when the consumer culture has reached a fever pitch, comments Myers, also the author of “The American Paradox: Spiritual Hunger in an Age of Plenty” (Yale University Press, 2000).
So what does psychologists’ 7) __________ say about possible effects of this consumer culture on people’s mental well-being? Based on the literature to date, it would be too simplistic to say that desire for material wealth unequivocally 8) __________ discontent. 9)__________ the least materialistic people report the most life satisfaction, some studies indicate that materialists can be 10) __________ as contented if they’ve got the money and their acquisitive lifestyle doesn’t conflict with more soul-satisfying pursuits. But for materialists with less money and other conflicting desires, a more 11) __________ situation, unhappiness emerges, researchers are finding.
“The gap between materialists and non-materialists in life satisfaction is narrowing as materialists’ income rises,” notes Edward Diener, PhD, a well-known researcher of subjective well-12) __________ and materialism. “Not only 13) __________ it very bad to be a materialist if you are poor; but if you’re rich, it doesn’t make you happier than non-materialists, but you almost catch up.”
Adapted from: http://www.apa.org/monitor/jun04/discontents.aspx
 COMMODITIES: articles of commerce.
 SUV: sport utility vehicle. Todoterreno.
 NOT ONE IOTA: (usually used with a negative) a very small amount; jot (esp. in the phrase not one or an iota)
 FEVER PITCH: A state of intense excitement.
- RISK / LIKELIHOOD
- ALMOST / TWICE