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EMAC 2023 Annual

How Voluntary Consumption Renunciation and Psycho-social Well-being Evoke Resilience in Times of the Coronavirus Pandemic

Published: May 24, 2023


Stefan Hoffmann, Kiel University; Ingo Balderjahn, Universit├Ąt Potsdam


The forced consumption restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic have caused stress symptoms for many consumers and, as a consequence, they have negatively affected their life satisfaction. This paper analyzes whether consumers with specific anti-consumption styles reacted more resiliently to these adverse conditions than others. The analysis is based on a unique data set of more than 8,600 consumers gathered in four consecutive large-scale surveys during the coronavirus pandemic between 2020 and 2022. The paper shows that the lifestyle of voluntary simplicity can actually buffer negative effects of the high peaks of forced consumption restrictions. Consumers' consciousness of debt-free consumption as well as their general psycho-social well-being stably mitigate the strain of forced consumption reduction, but neither factor has a stronger buffering effect during pandemic-related stress peaks.