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Effects of Consumer Powerlessness on Narcissistic Self-expression on Social Media

소비자 무력감이 소셜 미디어 속 나르시즘적 자아 표현에 미치는 영향

  • Kim, Miyea (Barun ICT Research Center, Yonsei University) ;
  • Jun, Mina (Sookmyung Women's University)
  • 김미예 (연세대학교 바른ICT연구소) ;
  • 전미나 (숙명여자대학교 경영학부)
  • Received : 2020.08.08
  • Accepted : 2020.08.19
  • Published : 2020.09.30

Abstract

When people feel powerless (with losing control), they show compensatory behaviors to get out of this state. The actions to compensate for powerlessness have been studied in the contexts of products or brands, but this study focuses on compensatory behaviors when using social media. Social media, which can express consumers' selves freely, has become a platform for self-expansion. It has been confirmed that the possibility of relieving psychological powerlessness through self-expression on social media exists. Therefore, we examined how people who felt powerless showed compensatory behaviors on social media. According to the analysis, consumer's powerlessness does not directly affect narcissistic self-expression on social media. However, it is derived as being fully mediated by the feeling of anxiety. The more anxious consumers feel, the more narcissistic they express themselves by posting photos of themselves with luxury brand objects that can show social power or authority. In other words, when consumers experience social powerlessness coupled with anxiety, they are likely to show compensatory consumption behaviors such as narcissistic self-expression in order to make their images cool and luxurious and draw others' attention on social media. We confirm that the compensatory consumption due to consumers' powerlessness, which leads to having anxiety, can appear in ways of presenting narcissistic selves on social media.

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