Consumer decisions in relationships

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Most research on consumer choice assumes that decisions are usually made by individuals, and that these decisions are based on an individual's personal attitudes, beliefs, and preferences. Yet, much consumer behavior-from joint decisions to individual choices-is directly or indirectly shaped by people with whom we have some relationship. In this target article, we examine how each member in a relationship can affect how consumer decisions are made. After reviewing foundational work in the area, we introduce a powerful and statistically sophisticated methodology to study decisions within relationships-a dyadic framework of decision-making. We then discuss how the study of consumer decisions in relationships can be informed by different theories in the relationships field, including attachment, interdependence, social power, communal/exchange orientations, relationship norms, and evolutionary principles. By building on the seminal foundations of prior joint-decision making research with theories and methods from contemporary relationship science, we hope to facilitate the integration of the consumer and relationships literature to better understand and generate novel hypotheses about consumer decisions in relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)304-314
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Consumer Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2012


  • Attitudes
  • Consumer decision-making
  • Dyadic framework
  • Relationships


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