Defensive reactions to self threat in consumption: the moderating role of affirmation
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This dissertation identifies two competing coping strategies individuals may employ to deal with self threat in consumption contexts—defensive and compliant strategies—and addresses the relationship between defensive and compliant consumption by investigating the key factors that determine the adoption of defensive (vs. compliant) consumption. This research 1) first uncovers consumer contexts where self threat activates defensive reactions, leading to a defensive consumption (Study 1 and 2); 2) examines the joint impact of the affirmation value of products and the mode of threat on determining whether defensive or compliant consumption takes place (Study 3); and 3) proposes that opportunities to affirm self views can turn off the defensive coping and reduce defensive consumption (Study 4). Taken together, this research addresses the influence of self threat on consumption by examining these factors which have not been studied systematically in previous consumer research.