|Sponsored by the HealthcareTrainingInstitute.org providing Quality Education since 1979|
Among individuals who self-identified as compulsive buyers, and in clinical samples,[16-18,26,27] the disorder shows a female preponderance ranging from80 to 95% . Both Kraepelin and Bleuler had noted that compulsive buying disorder mainly involves women.
Age at onset has been reported to range from 18 to 30 years, and the mean age at interview ranged in 6 studies from 31 to 41 years. The differences in age of onset and presentation probably stem from how the samples were selected. For example, McElroy et al. used a clinic/hospital sample, while both Schlosser et al. and Christenson et al. advertised for study participants in the community.
Compulsive buying disorder is found worldwide. Reports on the disorder have come from Brazil, England,France, Germany and the US.[16-18] However, the disorder appears confined to the developed countries; compulsive consumption in an undeveloped country seems unlikely except among the wealthy elite.
Faber et al. have found a close relationship between binge eating disorder and compulsive buying. A group with compulsive buying disorder were more likely to have engaged in binge eating disorder and bulimia nervosa than a control group. Frequency of Axis II disorders was assessed by Schlosser et al. using a self-report instrument and a structured interview. Nearly 60% of the sample met criteria for at least one personality disorder type through a consensus of both instruments, most commonly obsessive compulsive (22%), borderline (15%) and avoidant types (15%) [table IV]. Kruger observed in 4 cases that all demonstrated aspects of narcissistic personality: ‘They rely on other people for affirmation and esteem regulation . . .’. Individuals with compulsive buying disorder also differ from comparison samples when dimensional assessments are used. Christenson et al. report that individuals with compulsive buying disorder scored significantly higher than those who exhibited normal buying on the Beck Depression Inventory, the state and trait scales of the Spielberg Trait Anxiety Inventory, and on the checking, washing, obsessional slowness, and total scales of the Maudsley Obsessive-Compulsive Inventory. Lejoyeux et al. found that individuals with depression and compulsive buying had significantly higher scores than individuals who were depressed but exhibited noncompulsive buying on the experience seeking scale of the Zuckerman Sensation Seeking Scale, as well as the cognitive impulsivity, motor impulsivity, nonplanning activity and total scores for the Barrat Impulsivity Scale. In a study of individuals who self-identified as compulsive buyers, O’Guinn and Faber identified higher levels of compulsivity, materialism and fantasy, but lower levels of self-esteem than in individuals who engaged in normal buying behavior.
Black et al. used the family history method to assess the 137 FDRs of 31 individuals with compulsive buying disorder (table V). In this study, the FDRs of individuals with compulsive buying disorder were significantly more likely than FDR comparators to have depression, alcoholism, drug use disorder and ‘more than one psychiatric disorder’. Compulsive buying was identified in 13 (9.5%) of the FDRs of those with compulsive buying disorder. In the only molecular genetic study of compulsive buying to be reported, Devor et al. failed to find an association between two serotonin transporter gene polymorphisms and the disorder.
Christenson et al. noted that for 47% of patients, shopping experiences are associated with irresistible urges that prompt buying. Urgeswere episodic, typically lasting an hour and varied from daily to weekly in occurrence. In a few individuals, urges were reported to occur hourly.
For those with compulsive buying disorder, shopping is associated with a variety of emotions. Christenson et al. note that many patients feel happy (83%) or powerful (71%) while shopping, although this may be followed by a feeling of ‘letdown’. Schlosser et al. reported that many individuals with compulsive buying disorder buy for themselves (39%), but also buy for family members and friends. They prefer to shop alone (74%). Shoppers often describe their experiences as being enhanced by the colors, sounds, lighting and odor of stores, as well as the textures of clothing. Some shoppers (11%) even describe the experience as sexually exciting. Many feel guilt or remorse when faced with the consequences of their buying, and may even fail to unwrap their packages, return items, or give them away.
Clothes, shoes, jewelery and make-up were the most common items purchased by women. The items were generally not large and expensive and, individually, would not have led to any problems, but typically they are bought in quantity, leading spending to get out-of-hand. Men were typically interested in the same items, but tended to have a greater interest than women in electronic, automotive or hardware goods.
Additionally, individuals with compulsive buying disorder rely more on credit cards than individuals who buy normally, tend to have more of them, but are less likely to pay them off monthly. In one study, individuals who exhibited normal buying behavior reported that 22% of take-home pay was used to pay off debts (excluding home and car payments), but for those with compulsive buying disorder the figure was 46%.
Our group recently introduced the concept of compulsive buying severity. By dividing a sample of 44 individuals into quartiles from most to least severe depending upon CBS score, we found that greater severity was associated with lower gross income, less likelihood of having an income above the median, and spending a lower percentage of income on sale items. Those with more severe compulsive buying were also more likely to have Axis I or Axis II comorbidity. The picture that emerges of persons with the most severe compulsive buying problem is of individuals with significant psychiatric comorbidity whose spending is both more impulsive and less well controlled than those with better finances.
In a comparison of depressed patients with and without compulsive buying, those with compulsive buying disorder were significantly more likely to shop alone, and to buy gifts for themselves or others (as opposed to buying necessary goods) than the depressed patients who did not have compulsive buying behavior. The purchases made by those with compulsive buying disorder were also more likely to be made because the individual believed their social status required the item. Most purchases represented gifts for oneself or others, and were used significantly less often than expected.
Reflection Exercise #3
Online Continuing Education QUESTION 10
Others who bought this Addictions/Substance Abuse Course
CEU Continuing Education for
Psychology CEUs, Counselor CEUs, Social Worker CEUs, MFT CEUs