Saving your self: How identity relevance influences product usage

Although research has consistently demonstrated that people prefer to purchase products and brands that represent their identity, relatively little research has examined how this identity relevance influences product usage. Drawing from work on intertemporal choice, the present work proposes a conceptual framework for the influence of identity on product usage. The authors theorize and demonstrate an identity conservation effect, in that consumers are less likely to use nondurable identity products compared to nonidentity products because the tradeoff between possession value and in-use value is larger for identity products. Six studies demonstrate the identity conservation effect and provide support for the value tradeoff framework through both mediation and theoretically supported moderation.

This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Journal of Consumer Research following peer review. The version of record [Saving Your Self: How Identity Relevance Influences Product Usage. Journal of Consumer Research 46, 6 p1076-1092 (2019)] is available online at:



Work Title Saving your self: How identity relevance influences product usage
Open Access
  1. Daniel Sheehan
  2. Sara Loughran Dommer
  1. Identity
  2. Product usage
  3. Possession value
  4. In-use value
  5. Consumption
License In Copyright (Rights Reserved)
Work Type Article
  1. Journal of Consumer Research
Publication Date 2020
Publisher Identifier (DOI)
Deposited September 06, 2023




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Work History

Version 1

  • Created
  • Added Saving_Your_Self_-_Final.pdf
  • Added Creator Daniel Sheehan
  • Added Creator Sara Loughran Dommer
  • Published
  • Updated Keyword, Publication Date Show Changes
    • Identity, Product usage, Possession value, In-use value, Consumption
    Publication Date
    • 2020-04-01
    • 2020
  • Updated