Husbands please take a serious note! The shopping addiction is more predominant in depressed women with low self-esteem and frequent visits to malls may act as an escape mechanism for them to cope with unpleasant feelings.
According to Norwegian researchers, another worry is that the symptoms of shopping addiction is closely related to drug addiction, alcoholism and other substance addictions.
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“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 University of Bergen (UiB) in Norway.
According to Andreassen, the large study shows some clear tendencies as to which people develop a shopping dependency.
“Addictive shopping is more predominant in women, is typically initiated in late adolescence and emerging adulthood and appears to decrease with age," she noted.
Shopping addiction is also related to key personality traits.
“Our 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 reach these conclusions.
Extroverts, typically being social and sensation seeking, may be using shopping to express their individuality or enhance their social status and personal attractiveness.
“Neurotic people, who typically are anxious, depressive, and self-conscious, may use shopping as a means of reducing their negative feelings," she pointed out.
The study also found that people who are conscientious, agreeable and who like new and intellectual stimuli are less at risk from shopping addiction.
They typically have good self-control, avoid the kind of conflicts that problematic shopping often result in, and may regard shopping as a conventional activity at odds with their often unconventional values.
“The new method is based on core addiction elements recognised as diagnostic criteria for other addictions and is the first of its kind worldwide,” the authors noted.
The paper was published in the open-access journal Frontiers in Psychology.