Sadness and Consumption

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Sadness and Consumption

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Title: Sadness and Consumption
Author: Lerner, Jennifer S.; Garg, Nitika

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Citation: Garg, Nitika, and Jennifer S. Lerner. in press, 2012. Sadness and Consumption. Journal of Consumer Psychology.
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Abstract: Sadness influences consumption, leading individuals to pay more to acquire new goods and to
eat more unhealthy food than they would otherwise. These undesirable consumption effects of
sadness can occur without awareness, thus representing more than just conscious attempts at
“retail therapy.” In an experiment with real food consumption, the present paper examines the
hypothesis that sadness’ impact on consumption could be attenuated if the choice context
counteracted appraisals of helplessness and enhanced a sense of individual control. Results
revealed that: (1) sadness elevates self‐reports of helplessness in response to the emotion inducing situation, (2) helplessness mediates the sadness‐consumption effect, and (3) inducing
a sense of control (via choice) attenuates sadness’ effect.
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