Means-end chain theory and lifestyle are reconstructed within a dual-process framework, incorporating bottom-up and top-down information-processing routes. The bottom-up route is defined as a hierarchical categorization process, and the top-down route as goal-directed action. Lifestyle, then, is a system of individual differences in the habitual use of declarative and procedural knowledge structures that intervene between abstract goal states (personal values) and situation-specific product perceptions and behaviors. Access to the intervening knowledge structures is considered a necessary condition for both information-processing routes to reach their ends, predicting a strict mediation model. The model is tested on survey data gathered in France in 1998, using the list of values as a measure of abstract goal states, the food-related lifestyle instrument as a measure of intervening knowledge structures, and a newly constructed behavior list as a measure of behavior. Data were analyzed by means of structural equation modeling. Compared against five alternative model structures, the strict mediation model fitted the data best, thus confirming the predictions derived from the reconstructed theory.
Journal of Business Research, 2004, Vol 57, Issue 6, p. 665-670