Background: Materialism is a topic of interest for many scholars. Among children it is often measured with the Material Values Scale for children (MVS-c) (Opree et al. in Personal Individ Differ 51(8):963–968, 2011). Although the MVS-c was originally validated for use among 8- to 12-year-olds, its 6-item version is increasingly implemented among older populations (i.e., adolescents and emerging adults).
Objective: The aim of the current study is to verify whether the 6-item MVS-c can be employed among older populations and used for the analysis of materialism across the lifespan. Method: The 6-item MVS-c is administered to children in middle childhood (ages 8–12; n = 2995), adolescents (ages 15–17; n = 267), emerging adults (ages 18–21; n = 267), and adult parents (ages 25 +; n = 2995). Its factorial structure, reliability, and validity are assessed and compared. Particular attention is paid to the scale’s metric and scalar invariance.
Results: The results suggest that the 6-item MVS-c can be reliably and validly used across the different age groups. By showing metric invariance and (partial) scalar invariance using multigroup structural equation modeling, we demonstrate that it is possible to use the 6-item MVS-c to compare materialism scores and to study the predictors and outcomes of materialism across all four age groups.
Conclusions: The findings suggest that the MVS-c can be used to track children’s materialism and investigate its associated causes and consequences across different developmental phases.