Date of Award

1980

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Marketing (Business Administration)

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to examine in some detail the nature of some commonly acknowledged psychological constructs related to consumer behavior. These constructs, perceptual in nature, are self-image and perceived risk. In addition, a third concept of more recent vintage was included: purchase intention expectations, or more simply time perceptions. The focus of the study was an exploration of interrelationships among the three constructs. The following objectives were specified: (1) to analyze the relationship between self-image and ideal self-image across a group of products, across time, and as this relationship relates to risk, (2) to investigate the relationships of the three types of risk (economic, social, and psychological) and overall risk to images, to products, and to time perception, and, (3) to investigate "overall" relationships which might aid in the interpretation of image and risk perception phenomena. The data required for analysis of these relationships were collected from a sample of adult consumers who reside in selected areas of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. These respondents are representative of a large proportion of American consumers. To the extent possible, instrumentation (to include stimuli) were selected to reflect past research in the areas of self-image and perceived risk. However, this consideration was modified by virtue of the fact that the interrelationships of the constructs was of primary concern. An important aspect of this research was the issues of reliability and validity related to the instrumentation used. These issues were examined in detail, given the limiting nature of theory in the area of construct measurement. This effort pointed out shortcomings in the theory when applied to single-item measurement. Hypotheses were constructed around each construct and around construct interrelationships. Testing of these hypotheses led to the following general conclusions: (1) Evidence of the sought relationships have been found in the data, (2) The relationships are not simple and vary from product to product and from construct to construct, (3) Different products and product groups display variations in risk/image relationships, (4) The various types of risk relate differently to the image factors, (5) Both risk and image factors seem to vary more widely with durable products than with convenience products, (6) In a general way, image congruence is associated with less risk perception, (7) Ownership was indicated as being related to both risk and image variables, (8) Consumer's reports of overall perceived risk predict more accurately than their reports of specific risk types, and (9) The relationship between image matching and purchase intention horizons may not have much meaning for consumers when the concepts are applied to most products. Based on the knowledge gained, a number of suggestions for further research have been generated. These suggestions relate to construct definition and refinement, to constructing and testing specific typologies of consumers, and to consideration of brands of products and other market factors.

Pages

216

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