A Unified Theory of Consumer Response to Self-Concept Threat
Angle, Justin W.
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This dissertation comprises three chapters. Chapter one is designed to stand alone as a conceptual framework and literature review prepared for submission to an edited volume. This chapter presents a unifying model of self-concept threat. Through the integration of extant literature and the adaptation of a novel theoretical perspective, chapter one makes the critical proposal that self-concept threats are best understood when defined by the specific associations they target. Using Greenwald and colleagues' Unified Theory of Implicit Social Cognition (2002) as a starting point, this chapter introduces two specific threat types: identity valence threat and identity strength threat, and hypothesizes the distinct mechanisms involved in response to either type of threat. Chapter two is a brief empirical investigation of the framework outlined in chapter one and presents a single pilot experiment. Chapter three is designed as stand alone document prepared for submission to a peer-reviewed journal. This chapter focuses on identity strength threats, specifically threats that target the self-brand association. Three experiments demonstrate that threats to self-brand association lead to heightened preference for the focal brand, particularly for those most strongly identified with the brand, and that the this pursuit of the brand is an anxiety-mediated act of self-verification The key implication of this research is that creating uncertainty in brand relationships can be an effective strategy for increasing brand preference, a tactic contrary to marketing convention.