Perils of compensatory consumption: Within-domain compensation undermines subsequent self-regulation

Monika Lisjak, Andrea Bonezzi, Soo Kim, Derek D. Rucker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Prior research has shown that psychological threat can provoke consumers to desire, seek out, and acquire products that symbolize accomplishment in the domain of the threat. Although such within-domain compensation can serve as a psychological salve to repair the self, the current research suggests that sometimes this form of compensation can have ill effects. Specifically, engaging in withindomain compensation can trigger ruminative thinking about the threat. As a consequence, performance in subsequent tasks that require self-regulation is undermined. In support of this hypothesis, multiple experiments demonstrate that within-domain compensation impairs subsequent self-regulation on behaviors ranging from resisting tempting but unhealthy food to performing cognitively taxing tasks. Evidence that within-domain compensation fosters ruminative thought, as well as documentation of boundary conditions, is provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1186-1203
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Consumer Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


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