The Dimensional Structure of Consumer Buying Impulsivity: Measurement and Validation

Seounmi Youn, University of North Dakota
Ronald J. Faber, University of Minnesota
ABSTRACT - Despite the growing emphasis on the interplay of emotion and cognition in the consumption experiences, there is little research that provides an integrative view by linking together the complementary roles of the affective and cognitive components in impulse buying. Previous definitions on impulse buying fall short of fully capturing the complexity of the impulse buying phenomenon and in turn yield measurements that do not tap the dynamics of emotional and cognitive motives. This study seeks to remedy these conceptual and methodological deficiencies.
[ to cite ]:
Seounmi Youn and Ronald J. Faber (2002) ,"The Dimensional Structure of Consumer Buying Impulsivity: Measurement and Validation", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 29, eds. Susan M. Broniarczyk and Kent Nakamoto, Valdosta, GA : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 280.

Advances in Consumer Research Volume 29, 2002     Page 280

THE DIMENSIONAL STRUCTURE OF CONSUMER BUYING IMPULSIVITY: MEASUREMENT AND VALIDATION

Seounmi Youn, University of North Dakota

Ronald J. Faber, University of Minnesota

ABSTRACT -

Despite the growing emphasis on the interplay of emotion and cognition in the consumption experiences, there is little research that provides an integrative view by linking together the complementary roles of the affective and cognitive components in impulse buying. Previous definitions on impulse buying fall short of fully capturing the complexity of the impulse buying phenomenon and in turn yield measurements that do not tap the dynamics of emotional and cognitive motives. This study seeks to remedy these conceptual and methodological deficiencies.

As a new framework for analyzing impulse buying, this study triangulated three major dimensions of reactive, holistic, and experiential consumption, and elaborated on the theoretical definition for each dimension. Based on these conceptual explications, this study developed the Consumer Buying Impulsivity (CBI) scale to assess the likelihood of engaging in impulse buying. The CBI scale was postulated to be a multidimensional construct, not a unitary construct, which consists of higher order components that can be broken down into several lower order factors. Originally, CBI was proposed to have three higher order dimensions (behavioral, affective, and cognitive) and eight separate component parts. Rapidity and Reactivity for the behavioral dimension, Irresistible Urge to Buy, Susceptibility to Emotional States, and Emotional Conflict reflecting the affective dimension, and little Cognitive Deliberation, Unplanned Buying, and Disregard of the Future forming the cognitive dimension were specified as lower order sub-factors, respectively.

For the scale development, three pilot studies were conducted at a large Midwestern university from the spring of 1998 to the fall of 1999. Subjects participated in these surveys were convenience samples of undergraduate students. The scale evolved through the exploratory approach advocated by Tellegen and Waller (1994), which is a two-way directional process, moving from ideas to data and from data to ideas. To assess the appropriateness of the model, this study undertook two main studies. In the main study 1, data were collected through a survey conducted at a large Midwestern university during the winter of 1999. A total of 258 students participated in his survey. Study 2 sought to retest the appropriateness of the model and to replicate it among general consumers. Study 2 gathered data in a large Midwestern city during the winter of 2000. Overall, 215 adult respondents were interviewed at a regional shopping mall.

Through evolutionary progress across a series of empirical studies, the scale of CBI was purified from 140 items to 24 items and the original hypothesized model was modified into two higher order factors with six lower order sub-factors. The second-order factors consisted of the affective and cognitive components. The affective component was made up of three factors: Irresistible Urge to Buy, Positive Buying Emotions, and Mood Management. The cognitive component was composed of three factors: low Cognitive Deliberation, Disregard of the Future, and Unplanned Buying. The re-specified model showed overall fit indices indicating a good fit to the data, and demonstrated reliable individual items and subfactors, and valid internal structural relationships. The factor structure, measurement properties, and structural parameters were validated across two independent samples, students and adults.

A discussion of the differences between what was expected and what was found in the scale development and model testing stages provides valuable insights that help better understand impulse buying. In the scale development stage, the Rapidity and Reactivity factors of the hypothesized behavioral component did not emerge as separate sub-factors. Instead, they were merged into the Irresistible Urge to Buy factor of the affective component. Irresistible Urge to Buy represents an intense and unbearable desire to give in to internal impulses. This propensity tends to be tightly linked to the motor component of responding quickly to a stimulus, that is, Rapidity and Reactivity. This linkage may occur because the buying urge, by nature, accompanies the physiological aspect of the action-oriented or kinetic characteristics. Thus the behavioral component was not considered as an independent second-order factor in the final scale.

Mood Management, an unexpected sub-factor of the affective component, appeared consistently as a distinguishable dimension during the scale development stage. This factor represents buying’s palliative effects altering negative feeling states or moods. The Susceptibility to Emotional States factor was relabeled Positive Buying Emotions because, after a series of three pilot studies, the items tapping this factor reflect a narrower subset of emotional reactivity that highlights a positive affectivity, instead of a broader meaning of consumers’ responsiveness to emotional states. At the model testing stage, the Emotional Conflict factor was dropped from the final model of the CBI scale. This factor did not turn out to be compatible with the other sub-factors, showing the weak relationship with other factors. The cognitive component repeatedly yielded a stable factor structure that is composed of three factors. In the midst of elaborating the scale, statistical and theoretical justifications for model re-specification were provided.

The CBI scale was validated by linking it to psychological constructs such as Control vs. Impulsivity (Tellegen 1982), Stress Reaction (Tellegen 1982), and Future Time Orientation (Jones, Banicky, Pomare, and Lasane 1998). Scale validation demonstrated a convergent and divergent structure of the CBI construct and provided strong nomological validation for its multidimensionality. Furthermore, the theoretical implications and benefits of the CBI scale were discussed in terms of the multidimensionality of the scale.

REFERENCES

Jones, M. James, Lisa Banicky, Marina Pomare, and Terell P. Lasane (1998), "A Temporal Orientation Scale: Focusing Attention on the Past, Present, and Future," Unpublished Manuscript, University of Delaware.

Tellegen, Auke(1982), "Brief Manual for the Differential Personality Questionnaire, " Unpublished Manuscript, University of Minnesota.

Tellegen, Auke and Niels G. Waller (1994), "Exploring Personality through Test Construction: Development of the Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire," in Personality Measures: Development and Evaluation, Vol. 1, ed. Briggs, S. R. and Creek, J. M., Greenwich, CN: JAI Press, 133-161.

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