Scale for Measuring Consumer Financial Guilt Essay

Guilt is an emotion which a individual experiences when he believes to hold violated a certain codification of behavior. This frequently leads to repent in the ulterior phases when the individual owns up or takes duty for the same. This feeling of guilt harmonizing to psychologists is hard to acquire rid of. It might in some instances lead to utmost steps. This could originate in two ways- one when a individual does n’t move in a coveted manner and another where a individual acts in an unsought manner. It is driven by one ‘s interior scruples. Other feelings that are associated with guilt are compunction, wonder, shame, fright. Harmonizing to Sigmund Freud, self-importance and ace self-importance parental imprints interact to give rise to guilt.

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The deficiency of guilt leads to fault others, frequently used as a symptom to estrange sociopaths. Lack of it is treated as an unnatural province, which goes on to set up the relevancy of guilt. When a individual is unable to associate emotionally to others, he falls out of the moral model harmonizing to psychologists.

The emotions are a critical portion of cognitive procedures. Taping emotions can give an penetration into how determinations are made – therefore we can make forms out of determinations and group persons consequently.

Consumer guilt is a assortment of guilt and can be defined therefore – “ negative feeling ensuing from a consumer purchasing determination that is offending against one ‘s ideals. The evildoing can be buying a merchandise, service, thought, or experience ( i.e., a trade name that does non stay by quality criterions ), or non buying a merchandise ”

Consumer guilt is a specialised field widely studied today. In recessive times it becomes more of import to understand consumer determination doing procedure. Understanding consumer mind would assist companies plan communications and aim the needed TG in a coveted mode.

Psychologists have recorded good reactions as after effects to guilt. For illustration, when a client gets more attending from the salesman, he tends to make a liking and trueness to the store as non be givening to buy back from the store would raise guilt. This is the construct behind Customer Relationship Management – offering lower monetary values ; purchasing back unsatisfactory merchandises are a few illustrations.

Guilt in Marketing

Selling has concentrated on determination doing procedure by consumers governed by consumer principle. Coca Cola ‘s “ Open Happiness ” run is an first-class illustration. Companies target audience based on intangibles – which surveies have shown to hold greater impact than public-service corporations and characteristics of the merchandise put together. Emotions like love, fright, worry have been exploited by sellers. One of the emotions that has non been explored wholly is GUILT.

This emotion is a craze today – Be it the clinic asset, shampoo run where the child taunts the female parent for non being a homemaker and being unable to keep her hair decently. Surveies reveal that Barbie dolls are sold in immense Numberss when bundled along with expensive formal shirts. Fathers overcome the guilt of disbursement immense amount on oneself by purchasing their girls Barbie dolls.

A survey by Dana-Nicoleta Lascu, University of South Carolina categorises guilt into four types

Health guilt – a signifier of guilt originating from the fact that a consumer is unable to take attention of his wellness. This is aroused when one is prone to unhealthy eating patterns or is non able to give clip to snip his wellness. Healthy drinks and healthy sugar replacements seem to utilize this in copiousness in their communicating runs

Social Responsibility guilt – Social ad runs like the 1s against bibulous drive, anti- smoke run take this facet into design. However, this type of guilt is more to arouse guilt and assist you execute your responsibilities towards the society in general and under privileged in peculiar.

Moral guilt – Though this is a discrepancy of Social duty guilt, it is different in a manner that the focal point of guilt is a smaller circle. It is normally one ‘s close household. The ads brought out by the insurance companies evoke consumer guilt that he is morally responsible for his child ‘s instruction and married woman ‘s endurance.

Fiscal Guilt – “ Fiscal guilt is characterized by feelings of guilt that consequence from doing purchases that are non easy justified. ‘Unneeded ‘ or excessive outgos are illustrations of purchases which could excite fiscal guilt. Impulse shopping or a deficiency of deal shopping may besides bring forth fiscal guilt feelings. ”

A The focal point of this survey is to quantify the guilt perceptual experience of a consumer. So, we aimed at making a graduated table to mensurate fiscal guilt. If a consumer feels remorse/regret after a purchase it is indispensable to reenforce the value and quality of the merchandise to guarantee redemption. Therefore, mensurating guilt would assist us generalise what triggers guilt and when guilt will be experienced. This information can be used to plan suited selling communicating runs and increase client lifetime value.

Literature Survey

Mukhopadhyay, A. ( 2004 ). Columbia U. Unintended purchase chances: Conflict, pick, and effect. Dissertation Abstracts International Sec A: Humanistic disciplines and Social Sciences, Vol 65 ( 6-A ).

Consumers spend well on merchandises they had non planned to purchase. Marketers exploit this fact seeking to increase purchase incidence. This thesis surveies how determinations to either bargain or non purchase an unintended point affects responses to later alluring offers. An unintended purchase at the same time depends on both the end served by geting the merchandise, and the end of non passing money unnecessarily. These ends may be in struggle, which so leads to a pick about the purchase. This pick has effects, cognitive and affectional. Complex affectional results like felicity, pride, guilt, compunction, and anger consequence from these picks. These emotions influence responses to subsequent offers such that affect-consistent advertisement entreaties bring more favourable consequences.

Lin, Y.T., Jen, F., Catholic U., Xia, K.N., Yuan Ze U. ( 2009 ). The Relationship between consumer guilt and merchandise classs. Working paper, Conference of Association of Consumer Research.

This survey focuses on the concept of consumer guilt. It tries to understand what sort of merchandise the consumer bargains in order to fulfill their self-concept. Then the relationship between self-concept and consumer guilt are tested. The findings are that consumers are more likely to experience guilty when they spend on indulgences than when they spend on necessities. If the ideal-self is different from actual-self, consumers feel guilty when they buy something to fulfill their ideal-self.

Bennett, R. ( 1998 ). Shame, Guilt and Responses to Non-Profit and Public Sector Ads. International Journal of Advertising ( UK ), VOL 17 No 4

This article is about the difference between guilt and shame in psychological footings, being relevant for advertisement research. Arousing guilt green goodss, harmonizing to this paper, a positive response, whereas shame more likely leads to an turning away reaction. A set of hypotheses associating to dishonor, guilt and responses to advertizements are tested on 141 university pupils in the UK as a sample. It was found that high-guilt advertizements evoke more favorable responses than shame-intense adverts and that whereas there was no psychological opposition to guilt-intensive communicating, the sample reacted negatively to shame-messages.

Burnett, M.S., Lunsford, D.A.. ( 1994 ). Gestating Guilt in Consumer Decision Making Process. Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol 11, Issue 3

Consumers purchase based on many emotions. Guilt is one such emotion and is presently a subject of research for sellers seeking to act upon this procedure. Focus groups, composed of a varied sample population demographic, were used to build guilt. Four types of consumer guilt: fiscal, wellness, moral, duty, were identified. Consumer guilt is farther classified as anticipatory and reactive, happening in determinations to both purchase every bit good as non.

Bagozzi, R.P., Gopinath M., Nyer, P.U. ( 1999 ). The Role of Emotions in Marketing, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science ( USA ), VOL 27 No 2

Emotions are different from tempers and attitudes. This paper approaches the measuring of emotions by analyzing consequence of emotions upon behavior. Emotions besides affect the cognitive procedures, purposive behaviour and will. Twelve countries are identified for research about consequence of emotions in selling.

Taylor, R.K. Marketing Schemes: Deriving a Competitive Advantage Through the Use of Emotion, Competitiveness Review, Journal of Global Competitiveness

This article reviews theories of emotion and attempts to help in developing assorted advertisement schemes. There are ways in which directors can associate these schemes with the different emotional provinces of clients. Besides, client defence mechanisms are besides considered and schemes to interrupt them are listed.

Gangemi, A., Mancini, F. ( 2007 ). Guilt and Focusing in Decision Making, Journal of Behavioural Decision Making ( UK ), VOL 20 No 1

Based on research that found relationships between emotional province, knowledge and decision-making, this paper measures the consequence of fright and choler in act uponing positive and negative judgements. It proposes that feelings of guilt will take to negative hypotheses. Three experiments are conducted wherein three groups of pupils are required to remember choler, fright or impersonal emotional events, and so make up one’s mind what to make with an unexpected pecuniary gift. In decision, determination schemes are affected by the individual ‘s emotional province. Persons in the guilt group were more focussed on future guilt, and therefore on comparatively unwanted determination options.

Coulter, Pinto, Mary Beth. ( 1995 ).Guilt Entreaties in Ad: What are Their Effectss? Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol 80 ( 6 ). pp. 697-705.

This survey measures consumer responses based on emotion, attitude, ascriptions of trade names and purchase purpose by altering the degree of guilt induced. Sixty working female parents were taken as a sample set and proved that moderate guilt induced more felt guilt than utmost degrees. An opposite relationship was established between degree of guilt and attitudes toward ascriptions of trade names.

Lascu, D.N., University of South Carolina. ( 1991 ). Consumer Guilt: Analyzing the Potential of a New Marketing Construct, Advances in Consumer Research, Volume 18.

Even though consumer guilt is frequently exploited to accomplish competitory advantage by sellers, adequate research has non been done to document it ‘s consequence in academic footings. Guilt can be used to carry. This paper focuses on set uping guilt in consumers and its concepts. It develops an stock list for future use by research workers seeking to analyze guilt and its consequence on advertizement response, gross revenues and redemption.

Scale development

The purpose of the paper as discussed above was to develop a graduated table to mensurate guilt. We went in front with the conventional stairss of graduated table development.

The first measure was to place dimensions. After analyzing in deepness the above literature, we concluded that consumer fiscal guilt includes the undermentioned dimensions:

Personality traits – Personality traits include self regard and venue of control. They are defined as follows:

Self-esteem: High self-esteem persons think extremely of themselves, are more likely to pass more on merchandises and services that make them experience good. However, research indicates that people who rate high in self-esteem usage turning away defence mechanisms which lead them to reject endangering communications such as guilt entreaties and to be more receptive to optimistic messages. Low self-esteem persons, on the other manus, tend to utilize defences which lead them to accept baleful entreaties. So guilt entreaties work better on them.

Locus of Control: Persons with an external venue of control, believing that external forces control one ‘s fate, are more likely to adhere to the recommendations contained in the advertizement ordering modes of cut downing guilt than persons with an internal venue of control. A individual with an internal venue of control does non trust on inputs from any external beginnings to organize sentiments about trade name properties.

Focus of guilt: Focus of Guilt is described in footings of who is affected by the actions of the determination shaper. An individualaˆ?s purchase determination may hold inauspicious effects either on that person or on others. It identifies whom the guilt is directed toward, because the focal point of the guilt may impact the saliency of the emotion. Some persons may keep small concern for the effects of their actions on others while some persons may care deeply how their actions affect others. This focal point determines their purchase determinations

Utility of merchandise: The public-service corporation of a merchandise is a factor the consumer is ever discerning about. The consumer should comprehend that the value of the merchandise is higher than the monetary value he has paid for it i.e., the fringy public-service corporation is positive. The more the value of the merchandise in the consumer ‘s perceptual experience, the lesser is the guilt he suffers from a better chance lost. The worse the merchandise performs, the more the guilt that the consumer could hold used the money resource for something more utile.

Guilt Interacting with Other Negative Emotional Entreaties ( Shame, Fear ) – Emotions interact with each other. One emotion may trip, magnify, or rarefy another. As seen from the research paper, bring oning shame/fear will non lean consumers in your favour while arousing guilt might turn out good.

After placing dimensions, explorative research was done and inquiries decided upon. We arrived at a set of 44 inquiries, which is mentioned under Appendix 1.

Face cogency

The following measure was proving face cogency. This helps in sing the inquiries from respondent ‘s point of position. This was done to extinguish deceptive and confusing inquiries.

For the Guilt measuring study, we designed 44 points under four dimensions. The study was shown to 20 first twelvemonth MBA pupils who found out the points that were confounding and dual barreled. They removed 2 such points.

Contented Cogency

Following, content cogency was tested by look intoing whether the points included in the scale step the concept of involvement. Content Validity was performed by administrating the study to experts that included 7 professors of the Industrial psychological science, Organizational behaviour, and Marketing and Research methods. It was besides administered to 18 Research pupils and senior pupils of marketing sphere. The specialisation of these pupils in selling and organisational behaviour was important because our graduated table was designed for the sellers and these pupils had a good thought about which inquiry is relevant for sellers. Furthermore, guilt as an emotion is easy understood by the pupils of Organizational Behavior as they deal with emotions of the employees. The relevancy of the dimensions to the graduated table was analysed by them. They were given the dimensions and related definitions in Step 1 and asked to tag inquiries as ‘relevant ‘, ‘relevant but non indispensable ‘ and ‘irrelevant ‘. They removed 15 points that did non tap the dimensions. The inquiries were eliminated if 50 % of the people found the inquiry irrelevant. The method used to make up one’s mind on this was Lawshe ‘s method of finding Content Validity. A content cogency ratio is calculated which is given as below for each inquiry:

CVR= ( n-N/2 ) / N/2

n- Number of experts who considered inquiry relevant ;

N- Total figure of experts consulted.

A positive value for CVR implies that more than 50 % of experts agreed to relevance of the inquiry. The concluding figure of inquiries that were considered for the study was 27.

Phase 1: Datas aggregation

The study was administered to 140 campaigners in the first stage through on-line study tools. The respondents covered were from broad cross-section of age groups, locations and professions. A 5-point Likert graduated table was used to mensurate the responses more accurately. The responses of the Likert graduated table that were collected online were transferred to spreadsheets and the consequences were converted to Numberss from 1 to 5 with appropriate accommodations to the reversal points ( points that probed the absence of guilt ).

Item-Total correlativity

The item-total correlativities of the single points were found utilizing correlative map of SPSS package. The 6 points that had item-total correlativities less than 0.5 were dropped from the graduated table. The staying 21 points had item-total correlativities runing from 0.5 to 0.72. Of these 21 points, 5 represented the class of venue of control, 5 represented focal point of guilt, 6 represented public-service corporation of the merchandise, and 5 represented Shame and Fear.

Item-Item correlativity

The item-item correlativities of the 21 points were found utilizing bivariate correlativity map of SPSS package. All the 21 points had item-item correlativities of greater than 0.3 with 50 % of the points. Hence all the points were taken into consideration.

Exploratory Factor Analysis ( EFA )

After analyzing the above literature reappraisal in-depth, we conducted an analysis of what concepts are included in the concept of consumer guilt. ( Ref: Burnett, M.S., Lunsford, D.A.. ( 1994 ). Gestating Guilt in Consumer Decision Making Process. Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol 11, Issue 3 ). Following which, we conducted an explorative factor analysis to find the cogency of the listed concepts for consumer guilt.

Exploratory Factor Analysis was performed on the 21 points. The revolved constituent matrix of the points was obtained utilizing SPSS which was analysed. It is as follows:

Rotated Component Matrix

























































































Of these, 5 points that were cross-loaded on two factors were removed from consideration. The staying 16 points were divided into three factors. The factors had 6, 6 and 4 points severally. The points therefore obtained were meaningful and utile. The correlativities obtained in the trial were used to polish the questionnaire and arrive at the concluding three concepts as given below:

Factor 1 – you are non affected by the ads & A ; promos, friends ‘ purchasing behaviour, friend ‘s perceptual experiences or trade name value but you buy for the public-service corporation of the merchandise

Factor 2 – you ‘ll pass for others than on yourself and you ‘ll purchase the merchandise with best public-service corporation / client service no affair how attractive the merchandise is

Factor 3 – you ‘ll purchase merchandises on others ‘ recommendation and you are proud of the expensive merchandises you own and you compensate household members with expensive merchandises for the clip non spent with them

The factors therefore could be loosely categorized therefore:

Factor1 – Locus of control

Factor 2- Focus of Guilt

Factor 3- Impulse behaviour


The dependability was tested utilizing Cronbach ‘s alpha trial. The Cronbach ‘s alpha constituent was found to be 0.93 utilizing SPSS which indicates that the research conducted is dependable. This high alpha degree confirms the consistence of the responses from the topics.

Phase II – Confirmatory Factor Analysis ( CFA )

Exploratory factor analysis ( EFA ) resulted in three factors and a set of 16 variables that influence the peculiar factor. In order to find whether each of the factors can be fitted into the information set, we performed Confirmatory factor analysis ( CFA ). For this, we invited responses for this set of 16 study inquiries and an extra inquiry for nomological cogency. The nomological cogency inquiry was – ” You late made an expensive purchase. After the purchase you saw an ad of the merchandise. The ad claims the user to be particular as he deserves the merchandise. How of import is this to you ”. In order to guarantee that we do non acquire colored responses, the set of respondents in this Phase was different from that of Phase 1. We received 122 responses for this Phase.

CFA was performed utilizing AMOS. Regression weights were obtained for each of the common factors and its indexs. The AMOS text end product is tabulated below:

We can see that the arrested development weights for all the variables are greater than 0.7. Besides, the factor burden of the factors with the nomological cogency variable is greater than 0.4. However there were 5 inquiries whose Arrested development estimations were greater than 1. These values represent the inordinate burden, therefore they are treated outliers. After extinguishing those variables, we are left with 11 inquiries that right represent a right tantrum with the given informations set.

The concluding variables and the factors are tabulated below:


Variable 4

No sum of advertizement, publicities, peer influence can impact your purchasing of a peculiar trade name

Variable 16

You like to tout about the expensive merchandises that you own

Variable 21

Once you buy a merchandise, you use it merely till the trade name is popular

Variable 27

You will pass on expensive deodorant/body spray to avoid embarrassment when interacting with others


Variable 7

You will merely purchase what you need no affair how attractive a new merchandise is

Variable 9

You go out specially to purchase a gift for person else and non for yourself

Variable 11

You would endow your free gift voucher to person near without sorrow

Variable 19

You would non mind paying a merchandise more money than its public-service corporation for trade name value

Variable 25

You would be given to purchase a merchandise though it is priced higher if client service was good


Variable 5

You go without the purpose to purchase but stop up purchasing most of the merchandises based on your other ‘s recommendation

Variable 15

You enjoy other ‘s attending due to your ownership of expensive merchandises

Convergent and Divergent Validity

Since all lading factors that relate the variables to the dimensions are greater than 0.7 in the inquiries retained convergent cogency is automatically established. The AVE tonss for each of the factors were calculated. The values are as follows:

Divergent Validity








Therefore, each factor adequately represents at least 84 %, 82 % and 94 % of its corresponding variables. This is a trial of discriminate cogency and it farther strengthens the dependability of our graduated table.

Consequences Drumhead

The assorted trials are summarized below:

No of points

Type of analysis

Consequence of Analysis

Items generated


Judgment and redacting

Coevals of points

Face cogency


Cogency by co-workers

Elimination of excess points

Contented Cogency


Expert reappraisal

Refining of points

Validity trial


Item to Total correlativity and Item to item correlativity

21 values correlated with point entire correlativity coefficient & gt ; 0.4 and point to item correlativity coefficient greater than 0.3

Reliability trial


Cronbach analysis

Cronbach alpha coefficient = 0.93

Exploratory factor analysis


Factor analysis

21 points are categorized under 3 factors

Confirmatory factor analysis


CFA utilizing AMOS

Confirms that each of the points in a factor can be fitted in the information set

Convergent Validity


Check if arrested development weights are greater than 0.7

Confirms the convergence of the informations set

Divergent Validity


Check the AVE mark of each factors

Confirms the divergency of the informations set


Although many research documents are available on the topic of guilt there has non been any effort to quantify guilt as an emotion as it is complex and subjective. There are no empirical graduated tables to mensurate guilt. Most of the researches conducted so far are theoretical and conceptual. This research was an effort at developing a graduated table to mensurate consumer guilt. The graduated table can be used to prove the assorted propositions that relate guilt to selling. The consequences obtained in cogency trials show that the graduated table is a dependable 1. The first stage showed that graduated table is really consistent and stable. The high Cronbach ‘s alpha coefficient proves that this graduated table is extremely dependable. Phase 2 showed that content cogency holds good.

Further betterments

The graduated table can be farther expanded to cover more dimensions. The four dimensions that we have identified will non be sufficient to mensurate guilt as it is a complex emotion which involves a mixture of emotions in each one. Hence the other implicit in emotions that cause consumer guilt have to be found out and added as dimensions. The sub concepts like public-service corporation of a merchandise could be farther sub – classified and those besides need to be identified and incorporated as dimensions. The points have to be administered to more people of different income and location to invalidate the impact on the graduated table due to the behaviour of people from peculiar part or income. Guilt, like other emotions is fleeting – high at some point and low at some other point in life. The clip when the study is conducted will unduly act upon the respondents and therefore the trials have to be administered at different times to look into the dependability of the graduated table. Social desirableness prejudice can be nullified by administrating the graduated table along with societal desirableness graduated tables. Similarly acquiescence prejudice should besides be nullified before finalising the graduated table.


The absence of an empirical graduated table to step guilt has been a major restraint so far in associating it with selling. This graduated table will assist sellers in happening the relationship between guilt and selling. This graduated table will assist throw visible radiation on the manner emotions influence consumers purchasing behavior. So, one time relation has been established, sellers could look at tapping those emotions efficaciously to raise purchase and redemption. This would increase client life clip value.


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