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Compulsive Shopping Behavior Identified

shoppingWe all know someone who literally lives to shop. While the behavior in mild forms is a benign activity, obsessive or compulsive shopping can ruin lives.

Compulsive shopping can lead to financial problems, family conflicts, stress, depression, and loss of self-esteem.

According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, there may be more people engaged in compulsive buying than previously thought.

Authors Nancy M. Ridgway, Monika Kukar-Kinney (both University of Richmond), and Kent B. Monroe (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and University of Richmond) developed a new scale for measuring compulsive buying.

The scale consists of just nine questions, and the authors believe it does a better job than previous measures of identifying the number of people who engage in compulsive shopping.

“The scale is designed to identify consumers who have a strong urge to buy, regularly spend a lot of money, and have difficulty resisting the impulse to buy,” they explain.

Previous measures depend in large part on the consequences of shopping, such as financial difficulties and family strain over money matters. But the authors explain that compulsive shoppers with higher incomes may experience fewer financial consequences yet still have compulsive tendencies.

In the course of three separate studies, the researchers found that compulsive buying was linked to materialism, reduced self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and stress.

Compulsive shoppers had positive feelings associated with buying, and they also tended to hide purchases, return items, have more family arguments, and possessed more maxed-out credit cards. The researchers found that approximately 8.9 percent of the population they studied were compulsive shoppers, compared with 5 percent who were identified with the current clinical screener.

“Given the results of these studies, it is important for public policy officials to recognize that there may be a larger group of consumers suffering from problems resulting from compulsive buying than previously thought. Consumers need to be educated to recognize if compulsive buying is a problem in their lives so that they may seek help,” the authors conclude.

Source: University of Chicago Press Journals

Compulsive Shopping Behavior Identified

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Compulsive Shopping Behavior Identified. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 12, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2008/09/16/compulsive-shopping-behavior-identified/2940.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.