Marketing Letters

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 45–60 | Cite as

Coping with a natural disaster: Losses, emotions, and impulsive and compulsive buying

  • Julie Z. Sneath
  • Russell Lacey
  • Pamela A. Kennett-Hensel
Article

Abstract

Using data collected from 427 US Gulf Coast residents who were impacted by Hurricane Katrina, a structural model based on life event theory is proposed and empirically tested. Results show that perceived lack of control and loss of possessions contribute directly to stress, and event-induced stress impacts depression. Depressive states, in turn, lead to impulsive and compulsive buying behaviors. Multi-group analysis reveals that income moderates the relationship between depression and compulsive buying, but age, gender, and insurance coverage do not. The depression–impulsive buying relationship is not moderated by any of these factors. Disaster victims engage in distinct purchasing behaviors to manage emotional states, recoup losses, and restore their sense of self. In the aftermath of a traumatic event, impulsive buying appears to be a rational and beneficial behavior; compulsive buying does not. The results heed valuable ethical and social responsibility implications to marketers and public policy makers.

Keywords

Life event theory Depression Coping Impulsive buying Compulsive buying 

References

  1. American Psychiatric Association (1985). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, J. C., & Gerbing, D. W. (1988). Structural equation modeling in practice: a review and recommended two-step approach. Psychological Bulletin, 103(3), 411–423. DOI 10.1037/0033-2909.103.3.411.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Andreason, A. R. (1984). Life status changes and changes in consumer preferences and satisfaction. The Journal of Consumer Research, 11(December), 784–794. DOI 10.1086/209014.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Assanangkornchai, S., Tangboonngam, S., & Edwards, J. G. (2003). The flooding of HatYai: predictors of adverse emotional responses to a natural disaster. Stress and Health, 20, 81–89. DOI 10.1002/smi.999.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bagozzi, R. P., & Yi, Y. (1988). On the evaluation of structural equation models. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 16(2), 74–94. DOI 10.1007/BF02723327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Beatty, S. E., & Ferrell, M. E. (1998). Impulse buying: modeling its precursors. Journal of Retailing, 74(2), 169–191. DOI 10.1016/S0022-4359(99)80092-X.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Belk, R. (1988). Possessions and the extended self. The Journal of Consumer Research, 15, 139–168. DOI 10.1086/209154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Benight, C. C., & Bandura, A. (2004). Social cognitive theory of posttraumatic recovery: the role of perceived self-efficacy. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 42, 1129–1148 Medline. DOI 10.1016/j.brat.2003.08.008.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Benight, C. C., Swift, E., Sanger, J., Smith, A., & Zeppelin, D. (1999). Coping self-efficacy as a prime mediator of distress following a natural disaster. The Journal of Applied Psychology, 29, 2443–2464. DOI 10.1111/j.1559-1816.1999.tb00120.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Black, D. W. (1996). Compulsive buying: a review. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 57, 50–55.Google Scholar
  11. Black, D. W., Repertinger, S., Gaffney, G. R., & Gabel, J. (1998). Family history and psychiatric comorbidity in persons with compulsive buying: preliminary findings. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 155(7), 960–963.Google Scholar
  12. Browne, M. W., & Cudeck, R. (1993). Alternative ways of assessing model fit. In K. A. Bollen, & J. S. Long (Eds.), Testing structural equation models (pp. 136–162). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  13. Coley, A., & Burgess, B. (2003). Gender differences in cognitive and affective impulse buying. Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, 7(3), 282–295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Darley, W. K., & Gilbert, S. (1992). The effect of consumers’ emotional reactions on behavioral intention: the moderating role of personal relevance and self-monitoring. Psychology and Marketing, 9, 329–346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. d’Astous, A. (1990). An inquiry into the compulsive side of ‘normal’ consumers. Journal of Consumer Policy, 13, 15–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Delorme, D. E., Zinkhan, G. M., & Hagen, S. C. (2004). The process of consumer reactions to possession threats and losses in a natural disaster. Marketing Letters, 15(4), 185–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Deutskens, E., de Jong, A., de Ruyter, K., & Wetzels, M. (2006). Comparing the generalizability of online and mail surveys in cross-national service quality research. Marketing Letters, 17, 119–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Dewan, S., Connelly, M., & Lehren, A. (2006). Evacuees’ lives still upended seven months after hurricane. The New York Times (March 22), A:1.Google Scholar
  19. Duhachek, A. (2005). Coping: a multidimensional, hierarchical framework of responses to stressful consumption episodes. Journal of Consumer Research, 32, 41–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Elliot, R. (1994). Addictive consumption: function and fragmentation in postmodernity. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 17, 159–179.Google Scholar
  21. Eysenck, S. B., Pearson, P. R., Easting, G., & Allsopp, J. F. (1985). Age norms for impulsiveness, venturesomeness and empathy in adults. Personality and Individual Differences, 6(5), 613–619.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Faber, R. J., & Christenson, G. A. (1996). In the mood to buy: differences in the mood states experienced by compulsive buyers and other consumers. Psychology and Marketing, Special Issue: Aberrant Consumer Behavior, 13, 803–820.Google Scholar
  23. Faber, R. J., Christenson, G. A., de Zwaan, M., & Mitchell, J. (1995). Two forms of compulsive consumption: comorbidity of compulsive buying and binge eating. Journal of Consumer Research, 22, 196–304.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Faber, R. J., & O'Guinn, T. C. (1988). Compulsive consumption and credit abuse. Journal of Consumer Policy, 11, 97–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Faber, R. J., & O’Guinn, T. C. (1989). Classifying compulsive consumers: advances in the development of a diagnostic tool. Advances in Consumer Research, 16, 738–744.Google Scholar
  26. Faber, R. J., & O’Guinn, T. C. (1992). A clinical screener for compulsive buying. Journal of Consumer Research, 19, 459–469.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Fornell, C., & Larcker, D. F. (1981). Evaluating structural equation models with unobserved variables and measurement error. Journal of Marketing Research, 18(February), 39–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gardner, M. P., & Rook, D. W. (1988). Effects of impulse purchases on consumers’ affective states. Advances in Consumer Research, 15, 127–130.Google Scholar
  29. Goenjian, A. K., Molina, L., Steinberg, A. M., Fairbanks, L. A., Alvarez, M. L., Goenjian, H. A., et al. (2001). Posttraumatic stress and depressive reactions among Nicaraguan adolescents after Hurricane Mitch. American Journal of Psychiatry, 58(May), 788–794.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Goldberg, J. (2006). An imperfect storm. Retrieved 20 June 2007 from http://article.nationalreview.com
  31. Greenberg, D. (1987). Compulsive hoarding. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 41, 409–416.Google Scholar
  32. Hoch, S. J., & Loewenstein, G. F. (1991). Time-inconsistent preferences and consumer self-control. Journal of Consumer Research, 17, 492–507.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hollingshead, A. B. (1949). Elmtown’s youth. New York, NY: Wiley.Google Scholar
  34. Horowitz, M. J., Wilner, N., & Alvarez, W. (1979). Impact of event scale: a measure of subjective stress. Psychosomatic Medicine, 41, 209–218.Google Scholar
  35. Hu, L., & Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indices in covariance structure analysis: conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling, 6(1), 325–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Joreskog, K., & Sorbom, D. (2006). LISREL 8.80: user’s reference guide. Chicago, IL: Scientific Software International.Google Scholar
  37. Kelley, H. H. (1973). The processes of social attribution. American Psychologist, 28, 107–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Kendler, K. S., Karkowski, L. M., & Prescott, C. A. (1999). Causal relationships between stressful life events and the onset of major depression. American Journal of Psychiatry, 156, 837–841.Google Scholar
  39. Kessler, R. C., Galea, S., Jones, R. T., & Parker, H. A. (2006). Mental illness and suicidality after Hurricane Katrina. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 84(12), 930–939.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Ketzenberger, K. E., & Forrest, L. (2000). Impulsiveness and compulsiveness in alcoholics and nonalcoholics. Addictive Behaviors, 25(5), 791–795.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Kyrios, M., Frost, R. O., & Steketee, G. (2004). Cognitions in compulsive buying and acquisition. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 28(2), 241–258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Malhotra, N. K. (2004). Marketing research: an applied orientation (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  43. Marlatt, G. A., Baer, J. S., Donovan, D. M., & Kivlahan, D. R. (1988). Addictive behaviors: etiology and treatment. Annual Review of Psychology, 38, 223–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. McCracken, G. (1986). Culture and consumption: a theoretical account of the structure and movement of the cultural meaning of consumer goods. Journal of Consumer Research, 13, 71–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. McGonagle, K. A., & Kessler, R. C. (1990). Chronic stress, acute stress, and depressive symptoms. American Journal of Community Psychology, 18, 681–705.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Mick, D. G., & DeMoss, M. (1990). Self-gifts: phenomenological insights from four contexts. Journal of Consumer Research, 17(3), 322–332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Mizerski, R. W., Golden, L. L., & Kernan, J. B. (1979). The attribution process in consumer decision making. Journal of Consumer Research, 6, 123–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Nunnally, J. C., & Bernstein, I. H. (1994). Psychometric theory (3rd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  49. O’Guinn, T. C., & Faber, R. J. (1989). Compulsive buying: a phenomenological exploration. Journal of Consumer Research, 16, 147–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Puri, R. (1996). Measuring and modifying consumer impulsiveness: a cost-benefit accessibility framework. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 5(2), 87–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Ramanathan, S., & Menon, G. (2006). Time-varying effects of chronic hedonic goals on impulsive behavior. Journal of Marketing Research, 43(4), 628–641.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Ridgway, N. M., Kukar-Kinney, M., & Monroe, K. B. (2006). New perspectives on compulsive buying: its roots, measurement and physiology (special session summary). Advances in Consumer Research, 33, 131–133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Rindfleisch, A., Burroughs, J. E., & Denton, F. (1997). Family structure, materialism, and compulsive consumption. Journal of Consumer Research, 23(March), 312–325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Roberts, J. A. (1998). Compulsive buying among college students: an investigation of its antecedents, consequences, and implications for public policy. Journal of Consumer Affairs, 32(2), 295–319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Rodriguez-Villarino, R., Gonzalez-Lorenzo, M., Fernandez-Gonzalez, A., Lameiras-Fernandez, M., & Foltz, M. L. (2006). Individual factors associated with buying addiction: an empirical study. Addiction Research and Theory, 14(5), 511–525.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Rook, D. W. (1987). The buying impulse. Journal of Consumer Research, 14, 189–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Rook, D. W., & Fisher, R. J. (1995). Normative influence on impulsive buying behavior. Journal of Consumer Research, 22, 305–313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Rook, D. W., & Gardner, M. P. (1993). In the mood: impulse buying’s affective antecedents. In J. Arnold-Costa, & R. W. Belk (Eds.), Research in consumer behavior, 6 (pp. 1–28). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.Google Scholar
  59. Rook, D. W., & Hoch, S. J. (1985). Consuming impulses. In E. C. Hirschman, & M. B. Holbrook (Eds.), Advances in consumer research, 12 (pp. 123–127). Provo, UT: Association for Consumer Research.Google Scholar
  60. Sayre, S., & Horne, D. (1996). I shop, therefore I am: the role of possessions for self definition. Advances in Consumer Research, 23, 323–329.Google Scholar
  61. Schultz, W. (2006). Behavioral theories and the neurophysiology of reward. Annual Review of Psychology, 57(1), 87–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Seligman, M. E. P., Kamen, L. P., & Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (1988). Explanatory style across the lifespan. In E. M. Hetherington, R. M. Lerner, & M. Perlmutter (Eds.), Child development in life-span perspective (pp. 91–114). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  63. Solomon, M. (1983). The role of products as social stimuli: a symbolic interaction perspective. Journal of Consumer Research, 10, 319–329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Steketee, G., Frost, R., & Kyrios, M. (2003). Beliefs about possessions among compulsive hoarders. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 27, 463–479.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. United States Census Bureau (2007). Hurricane Katrina. Accessed at http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/2005/katrina.htm on December 20, 2007.
  66. University of Pennsylvania Health Systems (2006). Introduction to the Beck scales. Accessed at http://mail.med.upenn.edu/~abeck/scaleintro.htm on June 15, 2006.
  67. Yuan, L. (2005). Katrina victims keep in touch with web logs. The Wall Street Journal, 31 August, p. B1.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julie Z. Sneath
    • 1
  • Russell Lacey
    • 2
  • Pamela A. Kennett-Hensel
    • 2
  1. 1.University of South AlabamaMobileUSA
  2. 2.University of New OrleansNew OrleansUSA

Personalised recommendations