The Maladaptive Pursuit of Consumption: the Impact of Materialism, Pain of Paying, Social Anxiety, Social Support, and Loneliness on Compulsive Buying
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.
KeywordsCompulsive buying Pain of paying Materialism Social anxiety Perceived social support
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.
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 was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
- Barnes, M. K., & Duck, S. (1994). Everyday communicative contexts for social support. In B. R. Burleson, T. L. Albrecht, & I. G. Sarason (Eds.), Communication of social support: Messages, interactions, relationships, and community (pp. 175–194). Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
- Burgard, M., & Mitchell, J. E. (2000). Group cognitive-behavioral therapy for buying disorder. In A. Benson (Ed.), I shop, therefore I am: Compulsive buying and the search for self (pp. 367–397). New York: Jason Aronson.Google Scholar
- Cacioppo, J. T., Hawkley, L. C., & Thisted, R. A. (2010). Perceived social isolation makes me sad: Five year cross-lagged analysis of loneliness and depressive symptomatology in the Chicago health, aging, and social relations study. Psychology and Aging, 25, 453–463. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0017216 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Christenson, G., Faber, R. J., de Zwaan, M., Raymond, N. C., Specker, S. M., Ekern, M. D., … Eckert, E. D. (1994). Compulsive buying: descriptive characteristics and psychiatric comorbidity. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 55, 5–11.Google Scholar
- Claes, L., Bijttebier, P., Van Den Eynde, F., Mitchell, J. E., Faber, R., de Zwaan, M., & Mueller, A. (2010). Emotional reactivity and self-regulation in relation to compulsive buying. Personality and Individual Differences, 49, 526–530. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2010.05.020 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Davenport, K., Houston, J. E., & Griffiths, M. D. (2012). Excessive eating and compulsive buying behaviours in women: An empirical pilot study examining reward sensitivity, anxiety, impulsivity, self-esteem and social desirability. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 10, 474–489. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-011-9332-7 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Dittmar, H. (2001). Impulse buying in ordinary and “compulsive” consumers. In E. U. Weber, J. Baron, & G. Loomes (Eds.), Conflict and tradeoffs in decision making (pp. 110–135). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Ellis, A. (1997). RET as a personality theory, therapy approach, and philosophy of life. In J. L. Wolfe & E. Brand (Eds.), Twenty years of rational therapy. New York: Institute for Rational Living.Google Scholar
- Faber, R. J., & O’Guinn, T. C. (1989). Classifying compulsive consumers: Advances in the development of a diagnostic tool. Advances in Consumer Research, 16, 738–744.Google Scholar
- Goldsmith, R. E., & Flynn, L. R. (2015). The etiology of frugal spending: a partial replication and extension. Comprehensive Psychology, 4, 4. Retrieved from http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.2466/09.20.CP.4.4
- Harnish, R. J., Bridges, K. R., & Karelitz, J. L. (2016). Compulsive buying: Prevalence, irrational beliefs, and purchasing. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-016-9690-2
- Harnish, R. J., Bridges, K. R., Nataraajan, R., Gump, J. T., & Carson, A. E. (in review). The impact of money attitudes and global life satisfaction on the maladaptive pursuit of consumption. Psychology & Marketing.Google Scholar
- Hyde, L. W., Gorka, A., Manuck, S. B., & Hariri, A. R. (2011). Perceived social support moderates the link between threat-related amygdala reactivity and trait anxiety. Neuropsychologia, 49, 651–656. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2010.08.025 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Kasser, T., Ryan, R. M., Couchman, C. E., & Sheldon, K. M. (2004). Materialistic values: Their causes and consequences. In T. Kasser & A. D. Kanner (Eds.), Psychology and consumer culture: The struggle for a good life in a materialistic world (pp. 11–28). Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Kendler, K. S., Myers, J., & Prescott, C. A. (2005). Sex differences in the relationship between social support and risk for major depression: A longitudinal study of opposite-sex twin pairs. American Journal of Psychiatry, 162, 250–256. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.aop.162.2.250 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- King, A. (1981). Beyond propensities: Toward a theory of addictive consumption. In K. L. Bernhardt et al. (Eds.), The changing market environment: New theories (pp. 438–440). Chicago: American Marketing Association.Google Scholar
- Müller, A., Claes, L., Georigiadou, E., Mollenkamp, M., Voth, E. M., Faber, R. J., … de Zwaan, M. (2014). Is compulsive buying related to materialism, depression or temperament? Findings from a sample of treatment-seeking patients with CB. Psychiatry Research, 216, 103–107. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2014.01.012.
- Peplau, L., & Perlman, D. (Eds.). (1982). Loneliness: A sourcebook of current theory, research, and therapy. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Roberts, J. A., & Jones, E. (2001). Money attitudes, credit-card use, and compulsive buying among American college students. Journal of Consumer Affairs, 35, 213–240. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-6606.2001.tb00111.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Taylor, S. E. (2012). Social support: A review. In H. S. Friedman (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of health psychology (pp. 192–217). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Yurchisin, J., & Johnson, K. K. P. (2004). Compulsive buying behavior and its relationship to perceived social status associated with buying, materialism, self-esteem, and apparel-product involvement. Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal, 32, 291–314. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077727X03261178 CrossRefGoogle Scholar