Linking Gift Exchange Emotional Experiences and Interpersonal Relationships

ABSTRACT - Although emotions experienced by relationship partners pervade their exchange processes, the impact of emotions in contexts of consumption exchanges has not received much research attention. This study addresses this gap by focusing on five relationship outcomes associated with the experience of mixed emotions in a consumer-to-consumer setting. For this investigation, the context of gift receipt was used because it is highly relational and emotion-laden. The results showed that it is not the overall amount of one specific emotion or the combined amount of all experienced emotions that affect perceptions of relationship outcome. Instead, it is the relative combination of positive and negative emotions (e.g., more positive, balanced or more negative) that can be linked to the relationship outcomes (e.g., strengthening, negligible effect, weakening). Further, our results also suggest that even when the main emotional experience is negative (e.g., anger about getting the wrong gift), coping processes might be used by the recipient in order to avoid negative relationship consequences. Our findings are theoretically and practically relevant for marketing relationships of many types, including how individuals in commercial contexts experience their emotions and assess the state of their relationships.



Citation:

Julie A. Ruth, Frederic F. Brunel, and Cele C. Otnes (2003) ,"Linking Gift Exchange Emotional Experiences and Interpersonal Relationships", in E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 6, eds. Darach Turley and Stephen Brown, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 21.

European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 6, 2003      Page 21

LINKING GIFT EXCHANGE EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCES AND INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS

Julie A. Ruth, Rutgers University-Camden, USA

Frederic F. Brunel, Boston University, USA

Cele C. Otnes, University of Illinois, USA

ABSTRACT -

Although emotions experienced by relationship partners pervade their exchange processes, the impact of emotions in contexts of consumption exchanges has not received much research attention. This study addresses this gap by focusing on five relationship outcomes associated with the experience of mixed emotions in a consumer-to-consumer setting. For this investigation, the context of gift receipt was used because it is highly relational and emotion-laden. The results showed that it is not the overall amount of one specific emotion or the combined amount of all experienced emotions that affect perceptions of relationship outcome. Instead, it is the relative combination of positive and negative emotions (e.g., more positive, balanced or more negative) that can be linked to the relationship outcomes (e.g., strengthening, negligible effect, weakening). Further, our results also suggest that even when the main emotional experience is negative (e.g., anger about getting the wrong gift), coping processes might be used by the recipient in order to avoid negative relationship consequences. Our findings are theoretically and practically relevant for marketing relationships of many types, including how individuals in commercial contexts experience their emotions and assess the state of their relationships.

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Authors

Julie A. Ruth, Rutgers University-Camden, USA
Frederic F. Brunel, Boston University, USA
Cele C. Otnes, University of Illinois, USA



Volume

E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 6 | 2003



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