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Merri Mattison is a 2012 graduate of the PhD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University

Document Type

Dissertation

Publication Date

2012

Abstract

The purpose of this quasi-experimental study was to determine if one's level of affluenza could be reduced through education and awareness. In particular, this study measured whether or not exposure to the benefits of community involvement, and the harm of overconsumption could alter the intentions that college students have regarding their behavior, as it pertains to materialism, consumption, and civic responsibility. The data were collected from college students in the form of pre-tests and post-tests utilizing an affluenza scale created for this research. Over the course of a semester, information and activities that elucidated the benefits of community involvement and the harm of overconsumption were integrated into the course curriculum. The post-test served to measure whether or not the curricular intervention altered attitudes and intentions regarding affluenza. Analysis data revealed that while individual statistical tests were not significant, some overall trends were evident, suggesting that the treatment may have influenced students to move further away from the ideals and attitudes associated with affluenza. Moreover, the affluenza scale was validated and refined. The results of this study have curricular applications for faculty and administrators at colleges and universities interested in implementing and carrying out a similar intervention, or implementing a program that focuses on reducing affluenza. Likewise, the findings offer sociological and social implications for faculty, activists, and community organizers interested in reducing consumption, wastefulness, materialistic attitudes, and those interested in encouraging civic responsibility, by offering additional insight into the issue of affluenza as well as means to begin to address it. Additionally, the Mattison Affluenza Scale itself can be utilized as a diagnostic tool, for instance as part of a needs assessment to determine where more programmatic attention or changes are needed. The electronic version of this Dissertation is at OhioLink ETD Center, www.ohiolink.edu/etd