Schadenfreude As a Consumption-Related Emotion: Feeling Happiness About the Downfall of Another's Product

Schadenfreude as a Consumption-Related Emotion:
Feeling Happiness about the Downfall of Another’s Product


Jill M. Sundie

University of Houston


James Ward

Arizona State University


Wynne W. Chin

University of Houston


Stephanie Geiger-Oneto

University of Houston



Schadenfreude is the joy experienced when people observe another’s downfall. Our research investigated schadenfreude in a status consumption context, and explored schadenfreude in response to observing another’s product failure. An experiment and structural model mapped the relationships between upward social comparisons involving status products and envy, and between envy and schadenfreude provoked by the failure of a status symbol. We also assessed the relative ability of envy and admiration to incite schadenfreude. Moreover, our study introduces theory that predicts schadenfreude will be a prompt to malicious product-related gossip. Implications of schadenfreude for word-of-mouth about the failed brand are addressed.


Jill Sundie, James Ward, and Stephanie Geiger-Oneto (2006) ,"Schadenfreude As a Consumption-Related Emotion: Feeling Happiness About the Downfall of Another's Product", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 33, eds. Connie Pechmann and Linda Price, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 96-97.


Jill Sundie, University of Houston
James Ward, Arizona State University
Stephanie Geiger-Oneto, University of Houston


NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 33 | 2006

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