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The role of ideal self-congruence and brand attachment in consumers’ negative behaviour: Compulsive buying and external trash-talking

Arnold Japutra (Department of Marketing, Business School, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia)
Yuksel Ekinci (Portsmouth Business School, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, UK)
Lyndon Simkin (Centre for Business in Society, Coventry Business School, Coventry University, Coventry, UK)
Bang Nguyen (East China University of Science and Technology, Shanghai, China)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 31 January 2018

Issue publication date: 29 March 2018




The purpose of this paper is to investigate the role of ideal self-congruence in instigating two types of negative consumer behaviours – compulsive buying and external trash-talking – and the mediating role of brand attachment on these relationships.


Two studies were designed using a structural equation modelling methodology. Study 1a was based on a mail survey of 280 respondents, whereas Study 1b was based on an electronic survey of 152 respondents. Study 1b was conducted to test the external validity of the research model.


In Study 1a, ideal self-congruence affects emotional brand attachment and in turn emotional brand attachment affects compulsive buying behaviour and external trash-talking. The mediation analysis indicates that emotional brand attachment mediates the relationships. Study 1b offers support to the results of Study 1a.

Practical implications

From a practical point of view, this study is useful for policymakers seeking to regulate and prevent excessive consumerism. For marketers, they should understand that brand attachment leads to compulsive buying and external trash-talking, which may provide immediate benefit for the brand or the firm. However, marketers should understand that these two negative behaviours may harm the firm image and consumers’ well-being in the long run.

Social implications

Apart from practical implications, firms should consider alleviating compulsive buying, as it is harmful to society. Similarly, excessive external trash-talking may lead to physical aggression. Consumers expect firms to be socially responsible. Thus, firms should start conducting activities that promote responsible shopping and reduce external trash-talking.


The study highlights a dark side of ideal self-congruence and brand attachment. The results suggest that ideal self-congruence with the help of emotional brand attachment predicts compulsive buying behaviour and external trash-talking. This may not only damage brand image but also the consumers’ well-being.



Japutra, A., Ekinci, Y., Simkin, L. and Nguyen, B. (2018), "The role of ideal self-congruence and brand attachment in consumers’ negative behaviour: Compulsive buying and external trash-talking", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 52 No. 3/4, pp. 683-701.



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