This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

A Model for Socially Responsible Consumption among Millennials: An Identity-Based Perspective




Johnson, Olivia

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Consumer and Design Sciences


Social responsibility has rapidly gained popularity among consumers specifically among Millennials born 1980 to 2000. Millennials are characterized by their willingness to get involved with social and political initiatives and a high affinity for technology. Literature has examined psychological antecedents and demographic characteristics of socially responsible (SR) consumers. To date, no research has explored the commitment to an identity as an underlying factor in understanding Millennials decision to engage in private or public routes of SR consumption behavior. The purpose of this study is to explore the socio-cognitive process Millennials engage in when making SR consumption decisions. Using Identity theory and Symbolic Self-Completion theory as a conceptual framework, this research aims to contribute to the body of literature pertaining to Millennials and social responsibility. Incorporating both qualitative and quantitative methods, this research sought to investigate eight proposed hypotheses in the theoretical model. Structural equation modeling revealed a positive relationship between SR identity commitment and SR private and public consumption behavior, which was completely mediated by SR personal identity salience. Overall, no moderation effects of conformity or social media related to the SR identity were found.