To Have or To Be? A Comparison of Materialism-Based Theories and Self-Determination Theory as Explanatory Frameworks of Prejudice


concerning this article should be addressed to Alain Van Hiel, Ghent University, Department of Developmental, Personality, and Social Psychology, H. Dunantlaan 2, Gent, 9000, Belgium. E-mail:


ABSTRACT The present study aimed to delineate the psychological structure of materialism and intrinsic and extrinsic value pursuit. Moreover, we compared models based on self-determination theory (SDT), Fromm's marketing character, and Inglehart's theory of social change to account for racial prejudice. In a sample of undergraduate students (n=131) and adults (n=176) it was revealed that the extrinsic value pursuit Financial Success/Materialism could be distinguished from the extrinsic value scales Physical Appeal and Social Recognition, and Community Concern could be distinguished from the intrinsic value pursuit scales Self-acceptance and Affiliation. Moreover, Financial Success/Materialism and Community Concern were consistently and significantly related to prejudice, whereas the other SDT facet scales yielded weaker relationships with prejudice. Structural models based on SDT and Inglehart were not corroborated, but instead the present data supported a mediation model based on Fromm's work in which the effect of Community Concern was mediated by Financial Success/Materialism. Broader implications for SDT are critically assessed.