Evaluation of the mood repair hypothesis of compulsive buying


Compulsive buying (CB) is a proposed disorder of dysregulated buying behaviour that is associated with high rates of Axis I comorbidity, particularly depression and anxiety. It has been proposed that purchasing behaviours may serve as a maladaptive means of alleviating negative affect in vulnerable individuals. The aim of the current study was to experimentally manipulate affect to test this mood repair hypothesis. Compulsive buyers (n = 26) and pathological gamblers (n = 23) diagnosed using structured clinical interviews (SCID) and healthy controls (n = 24) were randomly assigned to either a negative or positive mood-induction procedure (MIP) and participated in an experimental buying task. Results revealed that, irrespective of mood induction condition, compulsive buyers reported a greater urge to acquire items, purchased more items, and spent a greater total amount of money during the buying task when compared to the healthy control group. Compulsive buyers were also faster than pathological gamblers in making decisions to purchase, even after controlling for motor impulsivity (BIS). There was, however, no main effect of mood-induction condition or group by condition interaction. Limitations and future directions are discussed.

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D. Williams, A. (2012) Evaluation of the mood repair hypothesis of compulsive buying. Open Journal of Psychiatry, 2, 83-90. doi: 10.4236/ojpsych.2012.22012.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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