Skip to main content

Phases of Shopping Addiction Evidenced by Experiences of Compulsive Buyers

Abstract

This study investigated the process of shopping addiction as maladaptive responses regarding buying behavior. A qualitative approach was designed by inductive, interpretative, and constructionist nature of qualitative research. The research participants were recruited from internet websites providing consumer news, recruiting information of consumer panels or monitors, and castings of actors or models. In-depth interviews were done to solicit experiences of shopping. Content analysis was used to derive concepts regarding experiences of compulsive buying. Five concepts were derived, which were described and illustrated as sequential phases of shopping addiction: Phase 1. Retail therapy,Filling up emptiness with shopping”; Phase 2. Denial,Ignoring overconsumption”; Phase 3. Debt-ridden,Ran out of money, while nothing left”; Phase 4. Impulsive buying,Driving ones-self to hasty buying”; and Phase 5. Compulsive buying,It is crazy but I cannot stop”. The results of this study clarifies the basic understanding of people who engage in compulsive buying and provide educational resources for professionals engaged in helping people with compulsive buying disorder.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1

References

  • American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed, text revision). Arlington: APA.

    Google Scholar 

  • Aronson, J. (2000). Oniomania, ergo sum: the complete guide to compulsive buying disorders. Northvale, NJ.

  • Benson, A. L. (2001). I shop, therefore I am: compulsive buying and the search for self. Psychology and Marketing, 18, 985–997.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Black, D. W. (2007). A review of compulsive buying disorder. World Psychiatry, 6, 14–18.

    PubMed Central  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Bower, B. (2006). Shop until you can’t stop. Science News, 170, 227–228.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bridgforth, G. (2004). When shopping is a sickness. Essence Magazine, 35(4), 154–158.

    Google Scholar 

  • Burgard, M., & Mitchell, J.E. (2000). Group cognitive-behavioral therapy for buying disorders. In A. Benson (Ed.), I shop, therefore I am - compulsive buying and the search for self. New York: Aronson.

  • Christenson, G. A., Faber, R. J., de Zwaan, M., Raymnd, N., Specker, S. M., & Ekern, M. (1994). Compulsive buying: descriptive characteristics and psychiatric comorbidity. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 55, 5–11.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Clark, M., & Calleja, K. (2008). Shopping addiction: a preliminary investigation among Maltese university students. Addiction Research and Theory, 16, 633–649.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Faber, R. J., & Christenson, G. A. (1996). In the mood to buy: differences in the mood states experienced by compulsive buyers and other consumers. Psychology and Marketing, 13, S03–S19.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Faber, R. J., & O’Guinn, T. C. (1992). A clinical screener for compulsive buying. Journal of Consumer Research, 19, 459–469.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Faber, R. J., Christenson, G. A., de Zwaan, M., & Mitchell, J. E. (1995). Two factors of compulsive consumption: comorbidity of compulsive buying and binge eating. Journal of Consumer Research, 22, 296–304.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hong, S. (1990). An exploratory study on concepts and measurements of compulsive buying. Seoul: Hanyang University. Unpublished master’s thesis.

    Google Scholar 

  • Joo, M., & Kim, Y. (2004). A path analysis on compulsive buying tendency of university students: demographics, variables related to credit card and flow. Korean Journal of Home Management Association, 22, 47–58.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kim, S., & Hyun, M. (2005). The relationships between compulsive buying, impulsivity, daily hassles and stress coping strategies. The Korean Journal of Women Psychology, 10, 1–16.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kim, B., Kim, K., Park, I., Lee, K., Kim, J., Hong, J., et al. (1999). A comparison of phenomenological research methodology. Journal of Korean Academy of Nursing, 29, 1206–1220.

    Google Scholar 

  • Koob, G. F. (2003). Neuroadaptive mechanisms of addiction: studies on the extended amygdale. European Neuropsychopharmacology, 13, 442–452.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Koran, L. M., Faber, R. J., Aboujaoude, E., Large, M. D., & Serpe, R. T. (2006). Estimated prevalence of compulsive buying behavior in the United States. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 163, 1806–1812.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lee, M., & Hong, E. (2009). A study on consumption-oriented attitude and impulsive buying of high school students. Korean Journal of Home Management Association, 27, 15–30.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mitchell, J. E., Burgard, M., Faber, R., Crosby, R. D., & Zwaan, M. (2006). Cognitive behavioral therapy for compulsive buying disorder. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 44, 1859-1865. doi:10.1016/j.brat.2005.12.009.

  • O’Guinn, T. C., & Faber, R. J. (1989). Compulsive buying: a phenomenological exploration. Journal of Consumer Research, 16, 147–157.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Song, I. (1993). Addictive buying tendencies of consumers. Seoul: Seoul National University. Unpublished Doctoral dissertation.

    Google Scholar 

  • Stuart, G. W., & Laraia, M. T. (2005). Principles and practice of psychiatric nursing (8th ed.). Missouri: Elsevier Mosby.

    Google Scholar 

  • Valence, G., d’Astous, A., & Fortier, L. (1988). Compulsive buying: concept and measurement. Journal of Consumer Policy, 11, 419–433.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

This work was supported by the Research Institute of Human Ecology and the Research Settlement Fund for the new faculty of Seoul National University.

Conflict of Interest

There is no conflict of interest in the manuscript.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Yun-Jung Choi.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Sohn, SH., Choi, YJ. Phases of Shopping Addiction Evidenced by Experiences of Compulsive Buyers. Int J Ment Health Addiction 12, 243–254 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-013-9449-y

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-013-9449-y

Keywords

  • Addiction
  • Compulsive buying
  • Consumer education
  • Content analysis
  • Qualitative research