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