The role of consumer reviews as a reducer of antecipatory guilt in consumption

  • Juliana Pereira da Silva (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Consumers are becoming increasingly complex in the way they approach their purchasing decisions. Regardless of whether they intend to consume more functional and practical products or more pleasurable and experimental ones, consumers dive into the online world in pursuit of information provided by other consumers to avoid a bad purchase decision. However, when a consumer intends to buy a hedonic product, the weight of a bad decision becomes even greater, since the consumer faces the dilemma between satisfying a need or satisfying a desire. As a result, a feeling of anticipatory guilt emerges, which can lead the consumer to withdraw from buying such products. The existing literature reports some strategies to reduce this negative feeling associated with hedonic consumption, however none addresses the online universe. This research examines the effect of online reviews as a potential way to reduce anticipatory guilt inconsumption. Two studies were conducted, the first manipulating product type (hedonic, utilitarian) and the type of reviewer (consumer, expert, brand representative), and the second manipulating product type(hedonic, utilitarian) and social distance towards the reviewer (close, distant).Online reviews were found to exert a greater guilt reduction effect on hedonic consumption than on utilitarian consumption. Furthermore, this effect was found to be stronger for a review by a consumer compared to a review by an expert or brand representative.
Date of Award28 Apr 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorJoão Niza Braga (Supervisor)


  • Hedonic consumption
  • Utilitarian consumption
  • Anticipatory guilt
  • Ethics
  • Online reviews


  • Mestrado em Gestão e Administração de Empresas

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