Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Engelland, Brian

Committee Member

Lueg, Ponder Nicole

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access



Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Business and Industry


Department of Marketing, Quantitative Analysis and Business Law


Due to societal and economic costs caused by compulsive consumption behavior, specifically problem drinking and overeating, a search has been launched for a cognitive explanation for the ‘deviant’ behaviors and the motivations that cause these behaviors to continue. This dissertation attempted to develop a better understanding of continued compulsive consumption behavior by investigating consumers’ use of the techniques of neutralization theory. Based on methodological concerns in neutralization research, the development of reliable and valid measures of the five techniques of neutralization theory were described and used to examine their moderation of compulsive consumption behavior and its relationship with social norm commitment and guilt. The dissertation resulted in developing four reliable and valid neutralization technique scales. The results of the structural model suggested a negative relationship between social norms and compulsive consumption behavior and a multiple regression indicated a partial moderation of certain neutralization techniques of this relationship. This dissertation has provided a better understanding of the cognitive process surrounding a consumer’s compulsive consumption behavior, the techniques used to allow the behavior to continue, and marketing applications to entice consumers to stop the behavior.