The social and dual identity role of joint gift-giving among adolescents

Ruth Segev, Aviv Shoham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: This study aims to explore the dual identity role of joint gift-giving among adolescents. Studying this phenomenon through the lens of impression management theory enabled us to analyze private and group motives, drivers of these motives (givers’ public self-consciousness and self-monitoring and group cohesiveness) and the influence of group motives on the joint process. The characteristics of the joint process reflect a mutual social activity that enables adolescents to strengthen social group ties and define and nurture group identity. This research showed how a mutual consumer process, specifically, joint gift-giving, enhances the outcomes of social resources by defining groups’ mutual extended selves. Design/methodology/approach: In this study, quantitative tools were used. Selection of constructs for the study was based on a literature review and existing qualitative research. To test the validity and the reliability of the scales, a convenience sample of 103 adolescents (13 to 16 years old) was used in a pre-test survey. In the main study, a convenience sample of 129 adolescences was used. Self-report questionnaires were distributed to adolescents (aged 13-16 years). The survey included scales covering private and group motives for joint gift-giving, givers’ personality, group cohesiveness and the characteristics of the joint process. Findings: Givers’ public self-consciousness and self-monitoring were positively related to the motivation to engage in joint gift-giving to facilitate the development of desired private identities. High public self-consciousness and self-monitoring givers were motivated to enhance their private role in the group task and managed their impression among multiple audiences. We found that high-cohesiveness groups were motivated to nurture and strengthen social resources through joint gift-giving. Engaging in joint gift-giving is motivated not only by functional motives (e.g. saving money) but also by social motives that strengthen a group’s extended-self and social resources that all members enjoy. Research limitations/implications: Although gift-giving is a three-stage process per gestation presentation and reformulation stage, the current study explored joint gift-giving behavior only in the gestation stage. Future research should include the other two stages. Also the current research concentrated on adolescents. Exploring joint gift-giving among adults is recommended as well. Comparing the two age groups should allow a better understanding of the special characteristics of adolescents and adults. Additionally, other personality characteristics could affect givers private identity in the group task and other group characteristics such as group size gender of members and group context in the workplace could affect identity. Practical implications: This research can provide marketers with a deeper understanding of the joint gift-giving process. For example, marketers should recognize that joint gift-giving involves adolescent groups’ time-consuming activities in the joint process, i.e. gift selection effort, making handmade gifts and putting special efforts in gift appearance that enable them to define and nurture their group identity. Social implications: Parents and educators should recognize the importance of social identity dual role in participating in joint gift-giving. Hence, we recommend them to encourage adolescents to participate in this joint consuming process to enable them to protect and define their identity. Originality/value: Adolescents are an important market segment with unique cognitive, social and personality processes. While these processes have been explored in several consumer behavior studies, adolescents’ gift-giving has been largely ignored in the literature. This study contributes to an understanding of the drivers of private and group joint gift-giving motives, how sense of belonging and group identity are reflected in the social dynamics of joint gift-giving and how adolescents manage group and private impressions in the eyes of a single receiver and in the eyes of multiple peers participating in the group task.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-17
Number of pages15
JournalYoung Consumers
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.


  • Adolescence
  • Developmental psychology
  • Impression management
  • Peers
  • Quantitative methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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