Purpose This study aims to explore rumor sharing behavior among young consumers by evaluating the role of state anxiety and arousal as fundamental triggers to rumor sharing behavior. This study asserts that young consumers share rumors for emotional regulation and information sharing reasons, and aims to explore rumor sharing dynamics along these factors.
Design/methodology/approach Using established scales, this paper collects data from 394 respondents (age 18-25 years) who are enrolled in engineering or management colleges in India. Using these data, the paper conducts a PLS-SEM-based analysis using SmartPLS 3.0 to establish hypothesized relationships. PROCESS macro (Hayes, 2017) is used in SPSS to assess the role of mediators.
Findings Major findings of the study indicate that young consumers share rumors for emotional regulation and information sharing. State anxiety and arousal were positively associated to the consumers’ emotional regulation motivation, as well as their information sharing motivations. The findings illustrate that young consumers share rumors for managing their own emotions, as well as to help others who might be in need for such information. This assertion was further established by the mediating effect of these motivations on the relationship between the consumers’ emotions and their intention to share the rumor.
Research limitations/implications It was observed that that young consumers share rumors for emotional regulation and information sharing purpose. This contribution adds to the current research on motivations of rumor sharing. The paper highlights that rumor sharing is an outcome of emotional experiences, thereby contributing to “why” rumors are spread in the marketplace.
Originality/value Rumors lack veracity, arise in contexts of uncertainty and influence perceptions, brand credibility and consumer loyalty. Thus it is critical to understand the dynamics of fast propagating rumors in the marketplace. This paper advances the theoretical understanding of the psychological factors driving rumor propagation among young consumers. The paper identifies and establishes the role of fundamental triggers of rumor sharing among young consumers.
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