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From Compensatory Consumption to Adaptive Consumption: The Role of Self-Acceptance in Resolving Self-Deficits

Soo Kim and David Gal

Journal of Consumer Research, 2014, vol. 41, issue 2, 526 - 542

Abstract: Recent research in consumer behavior has documented the phenomenon of compensatory consumption, whereby individuals respond to information about deficits in their abilities, skills, status, and so forth by consuming products that symbolically compensate for the self-deficits. However, the examination of factors that might lead individuals to take more productive action in response to self-deficit information is limited. This article identifies self-acceptance as a moderator of when individuals engage in compensatory consumption versus adaptive consumption (i.e., consumption intended to help the individual improve in the area of deficit) in response to self-deficit information. Three studies show that, through self-acceptance, individuals reduce compensatory consumption and are more likely to engage in adaptive consumption to address self-deficits. Evidence suggests that self-acceptance affects individuals' responses to self-deficit information by changing their appraisal of self-deficits from harmful to benign to their self-worth. We distinguish self-acceptance from the related constructs of self-esteem, self-affirmation, and apathy.

Date: 2014
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