Chronically Lonely Consumers Avoid Rather than Seek Out Interpersonal Touch-Related Services Because of Lack of Interpersonal Trust and Comfort with Interpersonal Touch - HEC Paris - École des hautes études commerciales de Paris Access content directly
Preprints, Working Papers, ... Year : 2021

Chronically Lonely Consumers Avoid Rather than Seek Out Interpersonal Touch-Related Services Because of Lack of Interpersonal Trust and Comfort with Interpersonal Touch

Abstract

Chronic loneliness is a serious social problem that appears to be on the rise, and more so after the global COVID-19 pandemic. Some firms have introduced consumer services aimed at fostering social connection, particularly ones that promote interpersonal touch. Such strategies are presumably based on the intuitive notion that consumers may be attracted to services that provide interpersonal touch, because human touch has been shown to have a number of therapeutic benefits. Based on predictions derived from the evolutionary theory of loneliness, across four studies, we show that the opposite is true. Chronic loneliness is negatively correlated with comfort with interpersonal touch, which in turn translates into reduced rather than increased usage and preference for interpersonal touch-related services and service encounters. We further show that these effects are mediated by the negative effect of chronic loneliness on interpersonal trust, and are attenuated for those who adopt active coping strategies for loneliness, and when interpersonal trust is boosted. These findings suggest that marketers should re-consider their assumptions that lonely consumers will be attracted to services that promote interpersonal touch as a means of social reconnection, unless interpersonal trust can be clearly established.
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hal-03839327 , version 1 (04-11-2022)

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Elena Fumagalli, L. Shrum, Jaehoon Lee. Chronically Lonely Consumers Avoid Rather than Seek Out Interpersonal Touch-Related Services Because of Lack of Interpersonal Trust and Comfort with Interpersonal Touch. 2021. ⟨hal-03839327⟩

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