Coping With Shame, Guilt, and Embarrassment in Purchase-Related Contexts: an Exploratory Study

Sunghwan Yi, University of Guelph, Canada
Previous research in psychology shows that despite commonalities, shame, guilt, and embarrassment are discrete emotions with distinct antecedents. However, little attention has been paid to the possibility that people cope with the three emotions in a different manner. In this paper, I pursue the research question that consumers use systematically different coping strategies when they experience guilt, shame, and embarrassment in the purchase- and consumption-related context. Based on appraisal theories of emotions, I hypothesize that self-control and mental disengagement are most likely to be used to cope with shame. On the other hand, acceptance is highly likely to follow guilt. Lastly, embarrassment is likely to be followed by several emotion-focused coping strategies, such as self-control, mental disengagement, acceptance, and seeking social support. An empirical study based on recall of previous emotional experiences generally supported these hypotheses.
[ to cite ]:
Sunghwan Yi (2008) ,"Coping With Shame, Guilt, and Embarrassment in Purchase-Related Contexts: an Exploratory Study", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 35, eds. Angela Y. Lee and Dilip Soman, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research.