Consumption-Focused Self-Expression Word of Mouth: A New Scale and Its Role in Consumer Research


  • The authors would like to thank an anonymous reviewer and the executive editor for their helpful suggestions and for recommending an improved name for our construct. The authors would also like to thank Robert D. Jewell and Joann Peck for their comments on earlier versions of this manuscript.

Correspondence regarding this article should be sent to: Christina Saenger, Assistant Professor of Marketing, College of Business & Global Affairs, University of Tennessee Martin, 231 Lovelace Street, 6 Business Administration Building, Martin, TN 38238, USA (


This research represents the first systematic empirical examination of the motivation to spread word of mouth about consumption activities in order to self-express, a phenomenon that has been observed in both the academic literature and the popular press. Consumption-focused self-expression is a motivation to engage in word-of-mouth communication that is distinct from other word-of-mouth motivations that have been discussed in the literature. This work defines consumption-focused self-expression word of mouth as communication about one's consumption activities for the purpose of expressing one's self-concept and attracting attention to oneself. A scale to measure consumption-focused self-expression word of mouth is developed and shown to exhibit a consistent scale structure, acceptable reliability, and convergent, discriminant, nomological, and predictive validity. Scores on the consumption-focused self-expression word-of-mouth scale are shown to predict differences in the quantity and nature of consumers’ actual word-of-mouth communications via the social networking Web site Facebook.