Addiction and Maladaptive Consumption


Special issue of Journal of the Association for Consumer Research; Deadline 1 Apr 2020

JACR Call for Papers
Issue Editors: Shailendra P. Jain and Martin Reimann

Addiction and maladaptive consumption, including unhealthy consumption of alcohol, tobacco, food, technology, and internet, as well as detrimental engagement in gambling and shopping, exact gargantuan social and individual costs, ranging from economic and physical costs to emotional and spiritual costs. To name a few examples, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, tobacco, alcohol, and opioids set the United States back by $740 billion last year in costs related to crime, lost work productivity, and healthcare. Further, a percentage of American consumers are likely to be shopping addicts, given that credit card debt has ballooned to over $1 trillion according to the Federal Reserve. Economic costs of other types of addiction and maladaptive consumption have not been accurately estimated but are likely to be astronomical as well. Besides financial costs, almost all types of addiction and maladaptive consumption lead to varying degrees of abuse of both the self and others, including damaging discord in relationships, violence, and even death.

This issue of JACR will assemble and feature cutting-edge consumer research on addiction and maladaptive consumption for a better understanding of consumer behavior in general. In particular, we are soliciting research on addiction and maladaptive consumption that has genuine grounding in consumer behavior and marketplace phenomena. While we encourage submissions that go deeply into specific addictions and maladaptive consumer behaviors as they relate to drinking, smoking, and gambling, we also invite submissions dealing with a very broad series of market issues such as being a spendthrift or skinflint or demonstrating compulsive loyalty to a brand, store, or ideology. Topics of interest for this special issue include (but are not limited to):

  • What is the difference between compulsive consumption, maladaptive consumption, and addiction? Do these represent a continuum, are they different names for the same phenomenon, or are they sufficiently different as to invite distinct inquiries?
  • Do all maladaptive consumer behaviors share a common psychological and neurophysiological basis?
  • What are the roots of maladaptive consumption? What kind of choices that people make—voluntary, forced, or involuntary—lead them to engage in maladaptive consumption or even become addicts?
  • Besides pursuit of maladaptive consumption itself, in what other behavioral forms do addiction and maladaptive consumption manifest?
  • Are some people more prone to addiction and maladaptive consumption than others? If so why? What are the individual, situational, and environmental factors that influence susceptibility to such behaviors?
  • How do addicts and maladaptive consumers process information? What are the psychological and physiological processes at work? What role do emotional and other states play?
  • What are the group factors at work that enable or disable addiction?

Considering the nature of this special issue, which represents a pioneering effort in consumer research, we encourage different methodological approaches, including traditional experiments (both behavioral and neuroimaging), field studies, archival data analysis, and qualitative methods. We also welcome integrative theoretical reviews/frameworks that provide original conceptual insights. Manuscripts that propose methodological innovations are welcome as well.


Submitted manuscripts should not exceed 8,000 words. Submissions will receive double-blind peer review consistent with all top journals in the field of consumer research. Author guidelines can be found online at the JACR website. If you have specific questions or would like the editors’ reaction to a proposed submission, please contact either of the editors at or

Editorial Timeline

  • Deadline for initial manuscript submission: April 1, 2020
  • Meeting on Addiction and Maladaptive Consumption during ACR: October 17-20, 2020
  • Deadline for submission of final manuscript: March 15, 2021

Editor bios and submission instructions can be found here: