ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2014, Vol. 22 ›› Issue (9): 1513-1520.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2014.01513

• Regular Articles • Previous Articles    

Consumption as Psychological Compensation: A Review of Compensatory Consumption

ZHENG Xiaoying; PENG Siqing   

  1. (Guanghua School of Management, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China)
  • Received:2013-12-10 Online:2014-09-15 Published:2014-09-15
  • Contact: ZHENG Xiaoying, E-mail:


Compensatory consumption refers to the consumption behavior which aims at coping with psychological deficit or threat. A core theme of consumer behavior research is that people consume product or service not only for its functionality, but also for its signaling value. As an important self concept management strategy, consumption is often used to address self threat symbolically. Compensatory mechanism can help in understanding various irrational consumer behaviors. Self esteem threat, lack of control and lack of belong are the three major motivating forces which drive compensatory consumption. Future research can further address the following questions: 1) distinguish different types of compensatory consumption behavior, 2) evaluate the effectiveness of consumption as self repair tool, 3) explore alternative compensation means other than consumption, and investigate the relation between consumption compensation and other compensations, 4) look into the characteristics and mechanism of compensatory consumption within Chinese socio-cultural context.

Key words: compensation, compensatory consumption, self concept, self threat