Mothers take a page from their daughters' fashion book every once in a while, a new study shows.
A temple University Fox School of Business professor found that teenage girls have a strong influence on the makeup and clothing their mothers buy. This is because their mothers have stronger tendency to mimic the teens' consumption behavior rather than the teenage girls doing so.
"This finding provides initial support for the notion of reverse socialization and suggests that the impact adolescents have on their parents is much more profound than has been credited to them," Dr. Ayalla A. Ruvio, the lead author and an assistant professor of marketing, writes in an upcoming Journal of Consumer Behavior article.
This phenomenon is described as an intentional decision-making process of whom to mimic and how, and has spawned the new term and inspired the article's title: The Consumer Doppelganger Effect, according a release on the study.
"It is not merely the mimicking act that is conscious," the researchers wrote about the consumer doppelganger effect. "The findings clearly indicate that the subjects intentionally choose the figure they want to emulate and report their inclination to mimic their consumption behavior."
For this study, the researchers analyzed whether teenage girls tend to emulate their mothers' consumption behavior or whether mothers mimic that of their daughters. The study was done through questionnaires and sampled 343 mother-daughter pairs, with an average age of 44 for the mothers and 16 for the daughters.
If a mother is young at heart, is highly fashion conscious and sees her daughter as a style expert, she will tend to dopplegang her daughter's consumer behavior, researchers found.
On the other hand, even if that daughter has high interest in fashion and is thinking she's older than she really, that daughter is likely to see her mother as a consumer role model and to doppelgang her.