“I Want to Break Free!": How Experiences of Freedom Foster Consumer Happiness

Charlotte Gaston-Breton*, Elin Brandi Sørensen, Thyra Uth Thomsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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This research investigates the relevance, characteristics, and influence of experiences of freedom as a source of consumer happiness. A qualitative study (Study 1) underscores the existence of two types of experiences of freedom in consumption that bring happiness to consumers: “freedom from” worries, stress, or everyday life and “freedom to” explore, decide, and enact who they are or want to become. A content analysis (Study 2) and an experiment (Study 3) show how these two types of experiences of freedom have different characteristics and are related to happiness in different ways: “freedom from” experiences are related to low positive emotional arousal (calm) and are more likely to foster hedonic, pleasure-based happiness, while “freedom to” experiences are more frequently associated with high positive emotional arousal (excitement) and are more likely to foster eudaimonic, meaning-based happiness. The results are discussed in terms of research, consumer and managerial implications.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Business Research
Pages (from-to)22-32
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • Consumption
  • Experience
  • Freedom
  • Happiness

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