The blight of Black Friday is upon us. What better time to look at a recent paper on compulsive shopping?
Sohn and Choi (2013) adopted a qualitative approach and recruited a small group of Korean housewives with problematic shopping habits via consumer news websites. These nine women ranged in age from 28 to 40. The authors identified their target group as individuals with compulsive buying disorder, who reported a "preoccupation with shopping, pre-purchase tension or anxiety, and sense of relief following the purchase defined by Faber and O’Guinn (1992)." The participants all had high scores on the Faber and O’Guinn 14 item "compulsive buying checklist."
The authors conducted in-depth 2 hour interviews with each participant and analyzed the data according to a six-step contents analysis (Kim et al. 1999) that derived concept clusters, subcategories, and categories. Of note are these Five Sequential Phases of Shopping Addiction (Sohn & Choi, 2013):
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”
Phase 5. Compulsive buying, “It is crazy but I cannot stop”
Accompanying these phases are 5 themes, 15 subthemes, and 43 codes (shown in detail below).
Do you have a strong urge to purchase the latest Xbox One or PS4 before they sell out? Would you feel anxious if you didn't get one? If so, then you may be in Phase IV, Impulsive Buying.
But if you go to the mall every morning and shop online every day, it's all over. You've reached Phase V, Compulsive Buying.
Sang-Hee Sohn and Yun-Jung Choi (2013). Phases of Shopping Addiction Evidenced by Experiences of Compulsive Buyers. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction DOI: 10.1007/s11469-013-9449-y
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