Sample Sociology Paper on Can’t Buy Me Love (or Friendship): Social Consequences of Financially Contingent Self-Worth

This article explains that money cannot improve an individual’s relationship. When individuals in a relationship focus on money, they are likely to spend less effort and time in other aspects that help make relationships work—people who focus on money to make relationships work neglect other efforts to maintain their relationship. Focusing more on money leads to adverse social outcomes (Ward, Park, Naragon-Gainey, Whillans & Jung, 2020). When people base their happiness on money, their self-esteem is affected hence gaining financially contingent self-worth. This additionally pressures individuals to base their success on financial gains. Basing an individual’s success on the financial gain may come at the expense of spending time with loved ones.

This research uses four cross-sectional studies for 2,439 individuals and a daily study of 246 individuals to study this subject. The study findings indicate that using financial success as a measurement of an individual’s self-worth results in loneliness feelings. It also creates a social disconnection between an individual and the people close to them. The article further explains that basing an individual’s self-worth on financial success limits an individual’s capacity for self-determination and reduces the time an individual spends with family and loved ones.

The dependent variable in the study is the social outcomes related to focusing on financial gain. The study used a longitudinal research design that included repeated observations of the identified study subjects. The study findings are in line with the hypothesis of the researcher in that the findings indicate that when an individual relies on financial success for their self-worth, they are more likely to get more pressured in achieving financial success to the extent of neglecting their social connections (Ward, Park, Naragon-Gainey, Whillans & Jung, 2020). This leads to less time spent with friends and family; however, the individuals gain financial success.

Valuing money over family and friends leads to misery, study says

The press article offers similar sentiments on the consequences of giving more value to money over family and friends. The article explains that, even though money is good, it has its limitations. The article offers similar sentiments like those of the in the research article.  It borrows some information from the research article “When people base their self-worth on financial success, they experience feelings of pressure and a lack of autonomy, which are associated with negative social outcomes” (Frishberg, 2020).

When individuals focus more on improving their financial condition, their social and mental well-being is adversely affected. Creating a balance between making money and maintaining the right social networks is an important life concept that should not be overlooked. The social isolation caused by the desire to look for more money leads to mental issues such as depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders (Frishberg, 2020). Social networks are essential for all humans; they provide a sense of security that also influences human’s mental health and happiness.

The research findings are well explained in the popular press article. The article provides context and a clear explanation that enables the reader to get the information right.  It empathizes on the points entailed in the study findings. The article begins by providing a brief summary of the key findings. From the popular press article findings, there is a clear implication of a causal relationship between the variables that were studied in this research. The study offers a clear relationship between valuing money and unhappy life.

The study design used repeated observations to identify the influence money had on an individual’s social life. The study variables were in line with the study design used. They helped in analyzing the influence money had on an individual’s happiness and social life. The language used in the study creates a clear relation between the variables this making the study findings clear to understand. Self-worth based on financial success also puts a lot of pressure on individuals, making them overwork to earn more money. This leads to a miserable life that revolves around work. There is boredom doing the same thing over time with little or no break. This is what happens to individuals whose self-worth is based on financial success. Their lives become very dull, despite the financial gain they achieve. There is a great danger of popular press articles misrepresenting study findings. The press articles miss crucial key points to particular research and base their findings on non-key points. This diverts the study findings to different topics that may not be crucial to the research.




Ward, D. E., Park, L. E., Naragon-Gainey, K., Whillans, A. V., & Jung, H. Y. (2020). Can’t Buy Me Love (or Friendship): Social Consequences of Financially Contingent Self-Worth. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 014616722091087.


Frishberg, H. (2020, April 10). Valuing money over family and friends leads to misery, study says. New York Post.