The Impact of Mixed Consumption Emotions on Relationship Quality

Julie A. Ruth, Rutgers University
Frederic F. Brunel, Boston University
Cele C. Otnes, Rutgers University
ABSTRACT - Although emotions experienced by relationship partners pervade their exchange processes, the impact of emotions in contexts of consumption exchanges has not received a great deal of research attention. This study addresses this gap by focusing on the relationship outcomes associated with one aspect of emotional experienceBconsumer ambivalence, or the co-occurrence or sequential experience of mixed positive and/or negative emotions in one consumption episode. For this investigation, the context of gift receipt is used because it is highly relational and emotion-laden. Content analysis and analysis of variance procedures are used to assess the impact of such emotions on perceptions of relationship outcomes. The results demonstrate that rather than the overall amount of emotions, it is the balance or mix of positive and negative emotions that is strongly associated with perceptions of relationship outcomes. It also appears that emotional coping processes may exist to allow individuals to realize an overall neutral or positive assessment of the relationship, even if negative emotions are experienced. These results have important theoretical and practical implications for the study of marketing relationships of all types.
[ to cite ]:
Julie A. Ruth, Frederic F. Brunel, and Cele C. Otnes (2001) ,"The Impact of Mixed Consumption Emotions on Relationship Quality", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 28, eds. Mary C. Gilly and Joan Meyers-Levy, Valdosta, GA : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 370.

Advances in Consumer Research Volume 28, 2001     Page 370

THE IMPACT OF MIXED CONSUMPTION EMOTIONS ON RELATIONSHIP QUALITY

Julie A. Ruth, Rutgers University

Frederic F. Brunel, Boston University

Cele C. Otnes, Rutgers University

ABSTRACT -

Although emotions experienced by relationship partners pervade their exchange processes, the impact of emotions in contexts of consumption exchanges has not received a great deal of research attention. This study addresses this gap by focusing on the relationship outcomes associated with one aspect of emotional experienceBconsumer ambivalence, or the co-occurrence or sequential experience of mixed positive and/or negative emotions in one consumption episode. For this investigation, the context of gift receipt is used because it is highly relational and emotion-laden. Content analysis and analysis of variance procedures are used to assess the impact of such emotions on perceptions of relationship outcomes. The results demonstrate that rather than the overall amount of emotions, it is the balance or mix of positive and negative emotions that is strongly associated with perceptions of relationship outcomes. It also appears that emotional coping processes may exist to allow individuals to realize an overall neutral or positive assessment of the relationship, even if negative emotions are experienced. These results have important theoretical and practical implications for the study of marketing relationships of all types.

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