Research in marketing related to credit card behavior has generally found that overspending and credit card debt depend on the individual’s attitude toward spending on credit or a lack of behavioral control. The individual’s social environment has received much less attention and is presumed to have very little effect, if any. In the present study, the propensity of young individuals to overspend on their credit cards is examined as a function of attitude, self-efficacy, and social norms. A survey was conducted among a sample of 225 young adult consumers (i.e., college business students) who provided measures of attitude, self-efficacy, and social norms related to overspending on credit cards. The findings revealed that social norms that are descriptive and specific to credit card overspending have a statistically significant impact on an individual’s propensity to overspend on credit cards whereas attitude toward credit card overspending does not. They also show that the extent to which young consumers perceive a sense of behavioral control towards overspending on credit cards is a significant factor to consider. Theoretical and managerial implications of these findings as well as opportunities for further research are discussed.
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Appendix: List of Measurement Items
Appendix: List of Measurement Items
Attitude toward credit card overspending
1. Overspending is: bad/good; positive negative
2. To what extent are you favorable or unfavorable to overspending on credit cards? Unfavorable/favorable
Self-efficacy as regards credit card overspendinga
1. I can control my spending on my credit card(s)
2. I am confident that I will not overspend on my credit card(s)
3. I believe I am very capable of not overspending on my credit card(s)
4. If I set my mind to not overspend on my credit card(s), I stick to it.
5. I think about the financial consequences of overspending on my credit cards
Credit card-related social normsa
1. My friends think it’s acceptable to have credit card debt
2. My friends have higher credit card debt than I do
3. My friends often max out their credit cards
4. My friends often take cash advances on their credit cards
5. My friends do not really concern themselves with how much things and activities cost when they use their credit card to pay for it
Propensity to overspend on credit cardsa
1. I spend more when I use my credit cardb
2. I am less concerned with the price of products when I use my credit cardb
3. I am more impulsive when I use my credit cardb
4. My credit cards are usually at their maximum credit limit
5. I rarely go over my available credit limit (r)
6. I seldom make cash advances on my credit cards (r)
7. I have too many credit cards
8. Last month, I spent more on my credit card(s) than I was able to pay off
9. I have a tendency to spend more on my credit card(s) than I am able to pay at the end of the billing period
10. Every month, I have a balance remaining on my credit card(s)
11. I spend more when I use my credit card(s) than when I use cashb
a1 = I strongly disagree; 7 = I strongly agree.
bItems which served in the final measure
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Sotiropoulos, V., d’Astous, A. Attitudinal, Self-Efficacy, and Social Norms Determinants of Young Consumers’ Propensity to Overspend on Credit Cards. J Consum Policy 36, 179–196 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10603-013-9223-3
- Overspending on credit cards
- Social norms
- Young consumers