Socialization, Gender, and Adolescent's Self-Reports of Their Generalized Use of Product Labels


  • We thank the Florida Atlantic University Foundation for a faculty research grant to Tamara Mangleburg which partially supported this research and Josh Wiener for helpful comments on earlier drafts of this manuscript. Dhruv Grewal would like to acknowledge a University of Miami summer research grant.


This study examines how various aspects of the consumer socialization process affect male and female teenagers' tendencies to use product labels in general. In contrast to the traditional information-processing perspective used in many studies of gender differences and studies of labeling, this research focus more on sociological explanations for gender differences in teens' tendencies to read product labels. Specifically, because males and females are likely to receive differential consumer socialization, differences are expected in the genders' use of product labels. Male and female teenagers may be differentially taught about the importance and use of product labels through differences in exposure to marketplace-related communication from parents, peers, and mass media. Exposure to marketplace-related communication, in turn, is likely to have positive effects on teens' tendencies to use product labels in general. With the exception of exposure to mass media, results based on data from a sample of high school students generally supported this mediational model.