Adolescents' perceptions of family communication patterns and some aspects of their consumer socialization

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Abstract

This study examined the effects of family communication patterns (FCP) on adolescent consumers' decision-making styles and influence in family purchase decisions. Two underlying dimensions of FCP (concept-orientation and socio-orientation) were measured separately for mother–child communication and father–child communication and regressed on adolescents' use of the selected decision-making styles and influence in purchase decisions involving durable products and nondurable products for their own use. Results show that only mother–child communication patterns have significant associations with adolescents' decision-making styles and family purchase influence. Specifically, mothers' concept-oriented communication was positively linked to children's use of utilitarian decision-making styles (e.g., careful and deliberate decision making) and social/conspicuous decision-making styles (e.g., recreational and hedonic decision making) as well as to children's influence in family purchase decisions involving both durable and nondurable products for themselves. On the other hand, mothers' socio-oriented communication was linked positively to children's use of undesirable decision-making styles (e.g., confusion by overchoice) and negatively to children's influence in family purchase decisions. This study also investigated the presence (or absence) of a same-gender effect in the relationships between parent–child communication orientations and children's consumer socialization outcome. If present, a same-gender effect would be indicated by a greater influence from the same-sex parent's communication orientations on the adolescent's decision-making styles and influence in family decisions relative to that of the opposite-- sex parent's communication orientations. Comparisons of the two gender-group regression results revealed no systematic pattern that suggests the presence of such an effect. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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