Product attachment in the context of gender differentiation and marital relationships

  • Farida Alrashaid

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    The aim of this qualitative study was to explore product attachment among men and women in conjugal associations and to design a series of household objects to encourage product attachment. A preliminary study based on the interview responses of 16 married individuals was used to identify themes and to develop the instrument employed in the main study.

    The main study sample consisted of eight married couples and the qualitative methodology involved the thematic content analysis of their responses to a questionnaire and in-depth interviews. The findings supported product attachment theory, and masculinity and femininity was reflected by the objects that the participants perceived to be the most valuable.

    Men tended to prefer objects with a functional value serving a consumer experience, particularly those that they could interact with and/or express the masculine desire to be independent and take an active role.

    Women were more variable in their preferences, but most became attached to objects with shared, affective and/or affiliative value. The values which made an object special were found, in general, not to be common to both husband and wife; however, those objects with a shared value, reflecting episodic memories concerning their marriage, were highlighted. These findings led to the construction of a tentative explanatory model to expand product attachment theory in the context of married couples.

    Underpinned by this model, action is recommended to promote the design and segmented marketing of products in order to create an emotional bond for one or both conjugal partners. Designs are proposed for a series of household objects to encourage the progressive development of episodic memories among married couples. Some prospective designs of products specifically targeted to promote shared value among the married couple segment of the market, including furniture and decorative items for the home are described. Further research is recommended to expand product attachment theory to take into consideration the design of objects for the married couples market.
    Date of Award2014
    Original languageEnglish


    • Product attachment theory
    • gender
    • marriage
    • femininity
    • masculinity
    • episodic memories

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