The study, which reveals some definite
tendencies among individuals due to which they develop a shopping dependency,
also shows that the women tend to visit shopping malls more often as it helps
them to avoid unpleasant feelings.
According to the study, the signs of shopping addiction
is closely connected to drug addiction
, and other types of addictions.
"We found that shopping addiction is related to symptoms of anxiety
, depression, and low self-esteem - although shopping
addiction may also lead to such symptoms," said clinical psychologist Cecilie Schou Andreassen from the Faculty of Psychology at the University of Bergen in Norway. Andreassen is also a visiting scholar at Yale University, School of Medicine, USA.
The researchers add that shopping addiction is also connected to key personality traits.
research indicates that people who score high on extroversion and neuroticism
are more at risk of developing shopping addiction," added Andreassen, who
used the "Bergen Shopping Addiction Scale" to get to these results.
scale, which was developed in 2014 is a new method of analyzing the addiction
and is based on core addiction elements.
The scale was
tested among 23,537 participants - 15,301 women and 8,236 men. The average age
of the participants was 35.8 years. The study also considered the participants'
age, gender, level of education, relationship, and occupational status.
The scale uses
seven basic criteria to recognize the addiction, where all items are scored on
the following scale:
(0) Completely disagree, (1) Disagree,
(2) Neither disagree nor agree, (3) Agree, and (4) Completely agree:
- You think about shopping all the time.
- You buy things in order to change your mood.
- You shop or buy so much that it negatively affects your daily commitments (e.g., school and work).
- You feel you have to shop more and more to get the same satisfaction level as before.
- You have decided to shop less but have not been able to do so.
- You feel bad if you are prevented from shopping.
- You shop so much that it has impaired your well-being.
The researchers say that a participant might have developed shopping addiction if he/she scored
at least four "agrees" or "completely agrees" from the seven items.
The scale can reliably differentiate between shopping addicts and non-addicts and showed that
shopping addiction is more predominant in women than men.
Addictive shopping in women is typically initiated in late adolescence and emerging
adulthood. However, it was seen that the addiction appears to decrease with age.
The researchers further explain that extroverts, who are typically social and attention-seeking
kind, may be using shopping to improve their personality, enhance their social status and lead a glamorous life.
On the other hand, neurotic people, who typically are anxious, depressive, and
self-conscious, may use shopping to stay away from their negative feelings.
People who are conscientious, responsible and who like new things and new intellectual stimuli
are less likely to develop shopping addiction. They typically have good
self-control and avoid most of the issues related to shopping. They may also
consider shopping as a conventional process at odds with their often unconventional
The researchers concluded that the scale could facilitate treatment and estimate the prevalence
of shopping addiction in the general population worldwide.
1. Andreassen, C. S., Griffiths, M. D., Pallesen, S., Bilder, R. M., Torsheim, T., &
Aboujaoude, E.: The Bergen Shopping Addiction Scale: reliability and validity
of a brief screening test. Frontiers in Psychology, 2015;