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Understanding the Intersections of Stress and the Marketplace to Improve Consumer Well-Being

Working Paper
Many consumers experience high levels of stress, which has been shown to have adverse effects on their physical and mental well-being. Previous consumer research has started to shed light on the significance of stress for consumer research. However, despite its importance, only a few top-level marketing papers to date have addressed how stress impacts consumer decision-making and vice versa. To address this gap in the literature, the authors develop a multidisciplinary framework that characterizes what causes stress, which function the stress response serves, and the impact of stress on the mind and body, as well as how these different levels of analysis can be captured. They apply this framework to identify the intersections of stress and the marketplace, contextualize extant research, and formulate new questions for future consumer research. This review highlights that stress may arise due to uncertainty, lack of control, and negative social interactions and through direct neurobiological pathways during the customer journey. In turn, stress affects consumers’ needs, preferences, and cognitive capacities. The authors discuss how consumers may better adapt to stress, how to better cater to the needs of consumers experiencing stress, and what marketers can do to minimize stress along the customer journey.
Faculty

Associate Professor of Marketing