A qualitative study of mother-adolescent daughter-vicarious role model consumption interactions

Yossi Gavish, Aviv Shoham, Ayalla Ruvio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The purpose is of this research are to examine the extent to which daughters view their mothers as consumption role models, the extent to which daughters serve as consumption role models for their mothers, and the extent to which external role models are shared by mothers and their adolescent daughters. Design/methodology/approach: Two qualitative studies focused on mothers-adolescent daughters-vicarious role models interactions as drivers of consumption behaviors in Western cultures. Study 1 included 20 in-depth interviews with mothers and their adolescent daughters (conducted separately). Study 2 included five of the original dyads interviewed jointly and observed in fashion stores. Findings: Regarding adolescent daughters' use as role models and fashion markers for their mothers, most mothers confirmed that their adolescent daughters' fashion opinion was very important. Second, based on consumer socialization arguments, mothers served as role models for their adolescent daughters. Most dyads shop for fashion items together and in the same stores. Regarding the issue of cognitive versus chronological ages, the studies suggest that there is a gap between mothers' cognitive and chronological ages in support of cognitive age theory and the youthfulness ideal of Western cultures. Notably, such a gap mostly failed to materialize for adolescent daughters. Hence, consumption similarity appears to be driven more by the gap for mothers than the gap for daughters. Finally, external role models such as celebrities did not have a great influence on mothers or their adolescent daughters. Originality/value: The research used in-depth interviews with and in-store observation of mothers and adolescent daughters. Future research might use similar interviews with younger daughters. Another extension of the work reported here that can provide triangulation for the findings is to change from a qualitative to a quantitative methodology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-56
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Consumer Marketing
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2010


  • Consumer behaviour
  • Qualitative research
  • Socialization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Marketing


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