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A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Textiles, Clothing, & Design, Under the Supervision of Professor Young Ha. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2012

Copyright 2012 Jennifer Elizabeth Johnson


Consumer socialization developed interest from researchers in the latter half of the 1970’s. Moschis and Churchill (1978) were the first to develop a formalized theoretical model indicating current sources of influence on young individuals when making purchasing decisions. Since the creation of the most used consumer socialization theoretical model was developed, technology has grown extensively through many realms.

Previous studies have demonstrated that the socialization agents of peers, family, and media continue to prove to be influential when analyzing consumer socialization outcomes (Bush et al., 1999; Mangleberg & Bristol, 1998; Nelson & McLeod, 2005). The consumer socialization framework also guides further research in the process of how consumers are socialized. Attitudes, or mental outcomes, and the intention to purchase, or behavioral outcomes, based on product reviews are measured. These two outcomes can be influenced by both antecedents (gender) and socialization processes through socialization agents, which are peer communication, familial communication, and online social networking usage.

Results of this study indicate that gender influences importance of familial communication and online social networking usage, as females tend to engage in more online and offline communication through these mediums. Gender, peer communication, and online social networking usage were found to influence attitude toward product reviews on social networking websites. Online social networking usage and attitude were also found to affect purchase intention toward the product reviewed on online social networking websites. Not surprisingly, a more positive attitude toward products reviewed led to a higher intention to purchase based on product reviews available through online social networking websites.

This study is important due to the overwhelming need for policymakers, marketers, retailers, and researchers to understand what influences consumers in the e-commerce age to recognize purchasing norms. A greater understanding will allow for consumers to be reached more readily by marketers, for additional policies to be created to protect consumers and retailers alike, and will open a new realm for research for online consumer socialization.

Advisor: Young Ha

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