Development of a scale to measure gift-giving behaviors


Gift-giving is a multimillion-dollar industry that affects almost everyone, and its economic importance is, "uncontested in terms of retail sales alone" (Sherry, 1983, p. 157). In romantic relationships, gift-giving plays an essential role in determining the overall satisfaction of the couple. With both positive and negative effects resulting from this exchange, it is curious why there is a desire to provide gifts in the first place. Are we lying when we say, "It1s the thought that counts," or has society really conditioned us to believe that gifts are a good proxy for feelings? This study investigates the reason behind gift-giving with regard to three distinct groups - intimate partners, family and friends - through the creation of a gift-giving scale. There is currently no validated measure for the effects of gift-giving. A factor analysis indicated a reliable 7-factor structure from the questionnaire: Gifts on Special Occasions, Jewelry, Use of 'Display of Gifts, Animals as Gifts, Gifts to/from a Significant Other, Money Earned, and Gifts for Pets. Each factor was tested using a 1-sample t-test to determine effects on gender in participant response. They were also analyzed with two one-way ANOVAs testing race and the participant's year-in-school for any effects. Six additional items of interest were analyzed and should be included in the scale. Gender differences were found for four of the seven factors, as well as effects for race and year-in-school. Six additional items from the Baruch Gift-Giving Scale were analyzed and shown to have significant gender differences in participant's beliefs on gift-giving. Through analysis of this research, we predict a better understanding of the importance that society and marketing place on gift-giving and the effect it has on relationships.


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Thesis Completion





Sims, Valerie


Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


College of Sciences

Degree Program



Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences;Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic







Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus-only Access


Document Type

Honors in the Major Thesis

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