chapter  23
Integrating Effects and Theory in Research and Application
WithBobby J. Calder, C. Miguel Brendl, Alice M. Tybout
Pages 19

Consumer researchers have long been divided over the relative importance of effects and theory in conducting studies. An effect is an observed relationship between variables. Chou, Parmar, and Galinsky (2016, Study 1), for example, find that household unemployment (zero if both heads of household are employed, one if a head is not, two if both are not) is positively related to consumption (dollar amount spent) of OTC painkillers (e.g., Tylenol). They found this effect even when controlling for other variables such as household size and income. A theory is an explanation of an observed effect. Chou et al. theorize that economic insecurity produces feelings-of-lack-of-control, which in turn leads to psychological and physical pain and results in increased consumption of painkillers. Feelings-of-lack-of-control is a theoretical construct as opposed to a variable.