Selected Publications

Topic: Money, Consumption, and Well-being:

This area of research has focused on determining the relations between wealth, consumption (esp. experiential), and subjective well-being. For example, we have demonstrated that: (a) when people are in poverty the relation between their net-worth and SWB is stronger than when they are in affluence (Howell, Howell, & Schwabe, 2006; Howell & Howell, 2008) and (b) the relation between net-worth and life satisfaction is mediated by both financial security and psychological need satisfaction (Howell, Kurai, & Tam, 2013). Concerning consumption, we have determined that people are happier from buying life experiences rather than tangible goods because experiences foster people's feelings of relatedness (Howell & Hill, 2009), (b) experiential consumers report increased well-being as well as greater psychological need satisfaction (Howell, Pchelin, & Iyer, 2012), (c) materialistic people do not enjoy the experiential advantage because their experiential purchases do not meet their need for identity expression (Zhang, Howell, Caprariello, & Guevarra, 2014), (d) while purely experiential purchases increase feelings of relatedness, experiential products help people fulfill their need for competence (Guevarra & Howell, 2014), and (e) one barrier to experiential consumption is that people choose material items instead of life experiences when they seek to maximize the economic value of what they buy (Pchelin & Howell, 2014). 

Guevarra, D.A. & Howell, R.T. (2014). To have in order to do: Exploring the effects of consuming experiential products on well-beingJournal of Consumer Psychology.

Zhang, J., Howell, R.T., Caprariello, P.A., & Guevarra, D.A. (2014). Damned if they do, damned if they don't: Material buyers are not happier from material or experiential consumption. Journal of Research in Personality, 50, 71-83.

Pchelin, P. & Howell, R.T. (2014). The hidden cost of value-seeking: People do not accurately forecast the economic benefits of experiential purchases. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 9, 322-334.

Zhang, J., Howell, R.T., & Howell, C.J. (2014). Living in wealthy neighborhoods increases material desires and maladaptive consumption. Journal of Consumer Culture.

Hill, G. & Howell, R.T. (2014). Moderators and mediators of pro-social spending and well-being: The influence of values and psychological need satisfaction. Personality and Individual Differences, 69, 69-74. 

Zhang, J., Howell, R.T. & Caprariello, P.A. (2013). Buying life experiences for the "right" reasons: A validation of the Motivations for Experiential Buying Scale. Journal of Happiness Studies, 14, 817-842.

Howell, R. T., Kurai, M , & Tam, L. (2013). Money buys financial security and psychological need satisfaction: Testing need theory in affluence. Social Indicators Research, 110, 17-29.


Donnelly, G., Iyer, R., & Howell, R.T. (2012). The Big Five personality traits, material values, financial well-being of self-described money managersJournal of Economic Psychology, 33, 1129-1142.

Howell, R. T.
, Pchelin, P, & Iyer, R. (2012). The preference for experiences over possessions: Measurement and construct validation of the experiential buying tendency scale. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 7, 57-71.
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Howell, R. T & Hill, G. (2009). The mediators of experiential purchases: Determining the impact of psychological needs satisfaction and social comparison. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 4, 511 – 522.

Howell, R. T., & Howell, C. J. (2008). The relation of economic status to subjective well-being in developing countries: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 134, 536 – 560. 


Topic: Predicting Subjective Well-being:

This area of research has focused on exploring the important predictors of well-being. For example, we have demonstrated that happiness is related to: (a) momentary
autonomy and relatedness (Howell, Chenot, Hill, & Howell, 2011), (b) the absence of a past negative time perspective while having a past positive time perspective (Zhang & Howell, 2011) and more globally having a balanced time perspective (Zhang, Howell, and Stolarski, under review), and (c) the absence of regret (Purvis, Howell, & Iyer, 2011) as well as perceived daily enjoyment and the absence of daily stress (Howell & Rodzon, 2011) - even when controlling for the Big Five personality traits.

Howell, R. T. & Rodzon, K.S. (2011). An exploration of personality-affect relations in daily life: Determining the support for the affect-level and affect-reactivity views. Personality and Individual Differences51, 797-801.

Zhang, J. & Howell, R. T. (2011). Do time perspectives predict unique variance in life satisfaction beyond personality traits? Personality and Individual Differences, 50, 1261 – 1266.

Purvis, A., Howell, R. T., & Iyer, R. (2011). Exploring the role of personality in the relationship between maximization and well-being. Personality and Individual Differences, 50, 370 – 375.

Howell, R. T, Chenot, D., Hill, G., & Howell, C. J. (2011). Momentary happiness: The role of psychological need satisfaction. The Journal of Happiness Studies, 1, 1 – 15.

Howell, R. T., Rodzon, K. S. Kurai, M., & Sanchez, A. H. (2010). A validation of well-being and happiness surveys for administration via the Internet. Behavior Research Methods, 42, 775-784.

Howell, R. T., Kern, M. L., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2007). Health benefits: Meta-analytically determining the impact of well-being on objective health outcomes. Health Psychology Review, 1, 83 – 136.