I Won't Live On, So I Create: Mortality Salience and Afterlife Belief Strength's Impact on Intention to Engage in Creation-Oriented Consumption
AdvisorBrucks, Merrie L
Committee ChairBrucks, Merrie L
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractCreative behaviors are part of an average consumer's everyday life. For example, amateur people buy various art and craft supplies from stores like Michael's, purchase studio time to make pottery, and collect camera accessories to help demonstrate their originality in photography. Usually the final creative product can be preserved for a long period of time. These creative activities are avidly pursued primarily because they provide consumers with enjoyment and a sense of fulfillment. I am coining the term "creation-oriented consumption" to refer to this phenomenon, which is one specific type of creative consumption.Terror management theory is used to examine why people engage in creation-oriented consumption. I hypothesize that mortality salience boosts the intention to engage in creation-oriented consumption; and under mortality salience, weakened afterlife belief increases the intention for this type of consumption.Three experimental studies are conducted, each adopting a somewhat different perspective. Study 1 gauges intention to engage in creation-oriented consumption against inaction. It finds that mortality salience increases interest in creation-oriented consumption; and that under mortality salience, weakened afterlife belief increases interest in creation-oriented consumption. Study 2 examines durable creation-oriented consumption's appeal relative to other activities, namely, non-creative activities and creative consumption that does not leave durable traces. The proposed effect of mortality salience is observed only when individuals possess a low level of chronic afterlife belief. Unexpectedly, interest in creative consumption is reduced under mortality salience. Consistent with study 1, study 2 finds that under mortality salience, weakened afterlife belief raises interest in creation-oriented consumption. Study 3 replicates the finding of study 2 that mortality salience dampens general interest in creativity. Taken together, these studies suggest that although creation-oriented consumption ameliorates existential anxiety, it is not the most effective one in the short term.Apart from the major hypotheses, this dissertation also investigates some boundary conditions. Two of the three studies find that the question of whether creative consumption leaves a durable trace is of significance.