The Who in Regret: How Psychological Closeness Affects Regret and Social Distancing

Karen Winterich, Texas A&M University, USA
Vikas Mittal, Rice University, USA
J. Jeffrey Inman, University of Pittsburgh, USA
Regret is influenced by one’s comparison to forgone alternatives. We argue a critical, yet overlooked, dimension of regret is the psychological closeness of the chooser to the one with the forgone alternative. Integrating social comparison theory and the theory of regret regulation, we predict that regret is greater when closeness with the chooser of a better forgone alternative is high than when closeness is low. Three studies support the moderating effect of psychological closeness and demonstrate that regret can lead to social distancing. These results suggest that regret is influenced by social comparisons for which social distancing may be a regret regulation strategy.
[ to cite ]:
Karen Winterich, Vikas Mittal, and J. Jeffrey Inman (2010) ,"The Who in Regret: How Psychological Closeness Affects Regret and Social Distancing", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 195-198 .