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Dissociative versus Associative Responses to Social Identity Threat: The Role of Consumer Self-Construal

  • Katherine White
  • Jennifer J. Argo
  • Jaideep Sengupta
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    The current research examines the conditions under which consumers demonstrate associative versus dissociative responses to identity-linked products as a consequence of a social identity threat. Across four studies, the authors test the notion that reactions to social identity threat may be moderated by self-construal by examining subcultural differences in ethnic background, priming self-construal, and investigating cross-national differences in cultural background. Those with more independent self-construals tend to avoid identity-linked products when that identity is threatened versus not threatened. Those with more interdependent self-construals, in contrast, demonstrate more positive preferences for identity-linked products when that aspect of social identity is threatened. These effects arise because, while independents are motivated to restore positive self-worth when a social identity is threatened, interdependents access a repertoire of social identities to fulfill belongingness needs when threatened.

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    Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Consumer Research.

    Volume (Year): 39 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 4 ()
    Pages: 704 - 719

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    Handle: RePEc:ucp:jconrs:doi:10.1086/664977
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