To Be, Or To Be Another Me: An Investigation Of Self-Concept Change In Consumers

  • Author / Creator
    Schmid, Christian
  • In two essays I investigate two antecedents of self-concept change in consumers: Threats to the self and the activated self-construal and its effect on goal conflict resolution. In the first essay, I explore identity strictly as consumers define themselves in terms of the possessions with which they associate. I argue that ironically the very effort to maintain self-consistency through living up to the value of materialism after facing a mortality salience threat can actually undermine consistency on the level of the extended self of highly materialistic consumers. Specifically, when faced with a mortality salience threat, the consistency of highly materialistic consumers’ self-concept is disrupted in which they not only detach from formerly intrinsic possessions, but also make formerly extrinsic possessions a more central part of the extended self-concept. I further argue that consumers can be protected from a disruption to self-concept consistency through the process of self-affirmation. In the second essay, I explore how the activated self-construal impacts whether consumers maximize pleasure or engage in self-presentational behavior after they have been invited to choose a gift for themselves. I demonstrate that consumers with an independent (interdependent) self-construal make more indulgent (modest) gift choices for themselves, and that this effect is driven by the activation of a goal to maximize pleasure (behave normatively appropriate). I also identify a boundary condition: When consumers are able to satisfy their activated goal before selecting a gift, the effects cease to exist.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2010
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.