Compulsive shopping linked to depression, anxiety

September 16th, 2008 - 1:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Sep 16 (IANS) Compulsive shopping is not only a source of financial woes, family conflicts, stress and loss of self-esteem, but it is also becoming more widespread. In the course of three separate studies, researchers found that compulsive buying was linked to materialism, reduced self-esteem, depression, anxiety and stress.

Authors Nancy M. Ridgway and Monika Kukar-Kinney, from the University of Richmond and Kent B. Monroe from the University of Illinois developed a new scale for measuring compulsive buying.

The scale comprises nine questions, and the authors believe it does a better job than previous measures of identifying 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 explained.

Previous measures depend in large part on the consequences of shopping, such as financial difficulties and family strain over money matters.

But the authors explained that compulsive shoppers with higher incomes may experience fewer financial consequences yet still have compulsive tendencies.

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.

Researchers found that approximately 8.9 percent of the population they studied were compulsive shoppers, compared with five percent who were identified with the current clinical screener.

The study is scheduled for publication in the December issue of the Journal of Consumer Research.

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