chapter  12
10 Pages

Mass-Mediated Influences on Patterns of Consumption in Polish Youth

The instrumental and symbolic meanings of personal possessions for Polish teenagers were examined. Similarly to teenagers in Western countries, Polish teens’ consumption preferences were largely derivative of the utilitarian, hedonistic, self-expressive, and status-related aspects of available goods. The interpersonal and mass-mediated social influences that shape these preferences were also examined. Mass-mediated influences turned out to play an especially important role, decreasing the impact of the personal opinions of significant others. Three of Cialdini’s (1993) six principles of social influence were particularly important: commitment/consistency, attractiveness/liking, and authority. The results are discussed in terms of the overwhelming power of the mass media and advertising in creating the cultural meaning system for material goods and in engendering adolescents’ perceptions of themselves and their social environments.