Prior research has shown that psychological threat can provoke consumers to desire, seek out, and acquire products that symbolize accomplishment in the domain of the threat. Although such within-domain compensation can serve as a psychological salve to repair the self, the current research suggests that sometimes this form of compensation can have ill effects. Specifically, engaging in withindomain compensation can trigger ruminative thinking about the threat. As a consequence, performance in subsequent tasks that require self-regulation is undermined. In support of this hypothesis, multiple experiments demonstrate that within-domain compensation impairs subsequent self-regulation on behaviors ranging from resisting tempting but unhealthy food to performing cognitively taxing tasks. Evidence that within-domain compensation fosters ruminative thought, as well as documentation of boundary conditions, is provided.,
Journal of Consumer Research
Rotterdam School of Management (RSM), Erasmus University

Lisjak, M, Bonezzi, A, Kim, S, & Rucker, D.D. (2015). Perils of compensatory consumption: Within-domain compensation undermines subsequent self-regulation. Journal of Consumer Research, 41(5), 1186–1203. doi:10.1086/678902