The Effect of Self-Concept Clarity on Discretionary Spending Tendency

Gülen Sarial Abi, Zeynep Gürhan-Canli, Tarcan Kumkale, Yeosun Yoon

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Discretionary spending is an important indicator of economic well-being. However, prior research is limited in empirically testing who is more likely to make discretionary purchases. To address this research gap, this article suggests that those who have less clearly and confidently defined, internally consistent, and temporally stable self-knowledge (i.e., those who have low self-concept clarity [SCC]) have higher discretionary spending tendencies than high-SCC individuals. The results indicate that low-SCC individuals have higher discretionary spending tendencies because they are more likely to adopt avoidant coping strategies than are high-SCC individuals. This research further tests the effectiveness of elaboration on potential outcomes in reducing the discretionary spending tendencies of individuals with high- or low-SCC and demonstrates that it is effective only for high-SCC individuals. This article concludes with a discussion of the theoretical and managerial implications of the results.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Research in Marketing
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)612-623
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Discretionary spending
  • Self-concept clarity
  • Coping
  • Elaboration on potential outcomes

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