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No AccessRisky Consumption

The Role of Digital Virtual Consumption in Navigating Risk-Laden Life Events

Jenna Drenten ([email protected]) is assistant professor of marketing and Linda Tuncay Zayer ([email protected]) is associate professor of marketing at Quinlan School of Business, Loyola University Chicago, 16 E. Pearson St., Chicago, IL 60611.

The term “risky consumption” elicits visions of extreme contexts, such as leaping from a moving airplane at 30,000 feet above ground or using illicit hallucinogenic drugs. However, this study aims to answer the call for understanding risk that is inherent in consumers’ risk-laden life events. Specifically, we examine the process by which consumers use digital virtual consumption (DVC) to negotiate tensions related to risk and the implications that this process holds for consumers’ identity narratives. Findings demonstrate how consumers, upon a triggering risk-laden life event, can turn to DVC to both cope with risk, as well as to engage in pleasurable risk. The research extends the theoretical understandings of risk and identity as intertwined with DVC. Managerial and social welfare implications are also offered.