Vulnerable consumers in the 'fourth age': Theoretical reflections upon the case of Sandra Bem

Tim Stone, Stephen Gould

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This commentary reflects upon consumer vulnerability in the ‘fourth age’ through a consideration of the case of Sandra Bem. In doing so, we focus on how Alzheimer’s disease affected Bem’s ability to make decisions and navigate the market to commit suicide. Subsequently, this article reflects upon terror management theory, ‘fourth age’ consumption and self-consciousness to suggest that future studies of degenerative illness are likely to breathe further life into the study of vulnerable consumers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)386-392
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Marketing Management
Issue number3-4
Early online date6 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016



  • consumer vulnerability
  • ‘fourth age’ consumption
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • terror management theory
  • self-conciousness
  • Sandra Bem

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