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Understanding ethical consumers: assessing the moderating effects of price sensitivity, materialism, impulse buying tendency, and clothing involvement




Bae, Su Yun, author
Yan, Ruoh-Nan (Terry), advisor
Eckman, Molly, committee member
Gloeckner, Gene, committee member

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The purpose of the study was to explore the antecedents of ethical consumer behavioral intention. The first objective was to investigate the relationship between ethical traits and attitudes toward social responsibility in the apparel and textiles industry. The second objective was to determine whether the attitudes predict socially responsible apparel purchasing intention and ethical post-purchase returning intention. The third objective was to examine the roles of individual characteristics as moderators between the relationships of attitudes and behavioral intentions. Social desirability bias was also measured in order to control for potential effects it might have on the relationships examined in the study. Data were collected from 302 consumers through store intercept and online survey approaches. The results of the study revealed that ethical traits predicted socially responsible attitudes. The socially responsible attitudes also predicted the behavioral intentions to purchase socially responsible apparel and to return products ethically. Among the variables of individual characteristics, only price sensitivity moderated the relationship between attitudes and behavioral intentions. Social desirability bias was not detected; the only exception was the relationship between ethical concerns and socially responsible attitudes. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.


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consumer ethics
return fraud
social responsibility


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