Goal maintainers' preferences: The influence of goal type on self‐control means choices

Lan Zhang, Xuemei Bian, Chundong Zheng*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This research examines how goal type (i.e., attainment vs. maintenance) affects consumers' preferences for different means of self‐control (i.e., initiatory vs. inhibitory). Across four studies, the authors demonstrate that pursuing maintenance versus attainment goals decreases the willingness to choose inhibitory self‐control but not initiatory self‐control. The effect is primarily attributed to two reasons: distinct decision concerns when choosing the means for attainment and maintenance goals; and asymmetry when evaluating initiatory and inhibitory self‐control. The effects are consistent across cultures and domains and impact consumers' purchase and real‐life behaviours. These findings shed light on the relationship between goal type and self‐control preferences and offer insights to both consumers and marketers on how to engage in self‐control for long‐term goals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Consumer Behaviour
Early online date31 Mar 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 31 Mar 2024

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