International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction

, Volume 17, Issue 6, pp 1401–1416 | Cite as

The Maladaptive Pursuit of Consumption: the Impact of Materialism, Pain of Paying, Social Anxiety, Social Support, and Loneliness on Compulsive Buying

  • Richard J. HarnishEmail author
  • K. Robert Bridges
  • Joshua T. Gump
  • Alicia E. Carson
Original Article


The current research examined the capability of materialism, pain of paying, social anxiety, social support, and loneliness to predict compulsive buying. A sample of students attending a public university located in the northeast USA were surveyed. A multiple regression indicated materialism, pain of paying, anhedonia, coping with substances, and social support received from family were predictors of compulsive buying. Pain of paying was the strongest predictor of compulsive buying. Understanding factors that affect compulsive buying aids the identification of compulsive buying and informs the treatment of compulsive buying. Treatment models may be more effective if additional attention is given to addressing and developing social support networks of compulsive buyers. Such social support may act as a buffer against the social anxiety compulsive buyers experience and may help reduce feelings of anhedonia and use of substances to control social anxiety.


Compulsive buying Pain of paying Materialism Social anxiety Perceived social support 



This research was funded by an internal research development grant by the Pennsylvania State University.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

The study was approved by the university’s Institutional Review Board, and all participants consented to the study.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard J. Harnish
    • 1
    Email author
  • K. Robert Bridges
    • 1
  • Joshua T. Gump
    • 1
  • Alicia E. Carson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyPenn State UniversityNew KensingtonUSA

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