How Embarrassing: an Examination of the Sources of Consumer Embarrassment and the Role of Self-Awareness

Rishtee Kumar, Boston University
The effects of consumer embarrassment extend beyond the obvious class of previously examined products such as condoms and laxatives. The manifestation of embarrassment impacts a host of industries, such as online dating, the weight-loss industry, and the plus-size clothing industry. Considering the widespread impact of consumer embarrassment, it is imperative to understand the causes of consumer embarrassment and also address possible ways to mitigate embarrassment in hopes of improving consumption decisions. Study 1 reveals that embarrassment in the consumption context might not entirely resemble that in psychology literature. Study 1 primarily serves to provide a better understanding of the situations in which consumers experience embarrassment and how they cope with it. Study 2 builds upon the findings of the first study to examine the effects of increased self-awareness on the purchase of socially embarrassing products.
[ to cite ]:
Rishtee Kumar (2008) ,"How Embarrassing: an Examination of the Sources of Consumer Embarrassment and the Role of Self-Awareness", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 35, eds. Angela Y. Lee and Dilip Soman, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 1006-1007.