Many people live with restrictions in their daily lives. Overlooked in past research is how individuals who experience restrictions construe information. We propose that individuals with temporary (permanent) restrictions adopt a more concrete (abstract) level of construal. Theoretically, perceptions of loss of control explain the construal level of consumers with temporary (vs. permanent) restrictions. We tested our hypotheses in a series of four quasi-experiment studies both in the field and online, including samples of individuals with diabetes and celiac disease. The results show that individuals who experience temporary (permanent) restrictions adopt more concrete (abstract) levels of construal, which results in their preference for products that communicate brand (category) attributes and shelves that contain only restriction-related (mixture of restriction- and no restriction-related) products. These findings extend developments in the literature on restrictions and construal level theory by showing the effects of duration of restrictions on individuals’ mindset and generate actionable implications for marketers and policymakers.
Bibliographical noteEpub ahead of print. Published online: 2. August 2021
- Construal level
- Information processing
- Loss of control