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Darren Dahl (Editor in Chief)Eileen FischerGita JoharVicki Morwitz

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How Is a Possession “Me” or “Not Me”? Characterizing Types and an Antecedent of Material Possession Attachment

Susan Schultz Kleine, Robert E. Kleine III, Chris T. Allen
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/209454 327-343 First published online: 1 December 1995


Material possession attachment, a property of the relationship between a specific person and a specific object of possession, reflects the extent of “me-ness” associated with that possession. The two Q-methodological studies reported here investigated the nature of this me-ness (and “not me-ness”). Study 1 explores different types of attachment and how these types portray various facets of a person's life story (i.e., identity). It shows how strong versus weak attachment, affiliation and/or autonomy seeking, and past, present, or future temporal orientation combine to form qualitatively distinct types of psychological significance. Study 2 begins development of a nomological network encompassing attachment by showing how mode of gift receipt (self-gift vs. interpersonal gift), as an antecedent, influences attachment type. Study 2 also examines aspects of successful and unsuccessful gifts. Both studies demonstrate that unidimensional affect fails to adequately describe or explain attachment. Together, the two studies suggest a more parsimonious way to represent person-possession relationships than has been offered in previous studies. Moreover, the findings help delineate the boundaries of attachment (e.g., What does it mean to say a possession is “not me”?).

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