It is generally believed that children’s advertising exposure decreases life satisfaction. This paper aims to investigate whether and how it does by examining the relation between advertising exposure and life satisfaction (Aim 1), as well as the mediating roles of psychological wellbeing (Aim 2) and its underlying dimensions (Aim 3).
Three-wave panel data were collected among 1,133 8-12-year-olds. Psychological wellbeing was measured overall and per dimension (i.e. environmental mastery, personal growth, purpose in life, self-acceptance, autonomy and positive relationships with others).
The authors found a nonsignificant total effect of advertising exposure at Wave 1 on life satisfaction at Wave 3: The negative direct effect was annulled by the positive indirect effect via overall psychological wellbeing at Wave 2. Detailed analysis revealed that personal growth and autonomy functioned as positive mediators, and purpose in life as a negative mediator in the relation between advertising exposure and life satisfaction.
This research informs the ethical debate surrounding child-directed advertising, showing it might stimulate children’s sense of control over their environment, openness to new experiences, direction in life and sense of self-agency.
This study is the first to examine advertising’s effect on life satisfaction and psychological wellbeing simultaneously. The study used a large sample and a longitudinal panel design, allowing conclusions about the specific effects of advertising exposure.
Opree, S., Buijzen, M. and van Reijmersdal, E. (2016), "The impact of advertising on children’s psychological wellbeing and life satisfaction", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 50 No. 11, pp. 1975-1992. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJM-06-2015-0393Download as .RIS
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