Buyer Behavior Essay Research Paper Buyer Behavior101496Compulsive

Buyer Behavior Essay, Research Paper

Buyer Behavior


Compulsive Buying:

A Phenomenological Exploration

This Article gave an in-depth look at the physiological

and social problems of the compulsive buyers behavior. It

relates and explains very thoroughly how compulsive buyers

actions can be compared to other excessive behaviors such as

drug abuse, alcoholism, eating disorders, compulsive

sexuality, kleptomania, or compulsive gambling. The article

was reinforced by extensive research, surveys, and

interviews on compulsive buyers.

Compulsions are repetitive and seemingly purposeful

behaviors that are performed according to certain rules or

in a stereotype fashion. They are also explained as being

excessive and ritualistic behaviors designed to alleviate

tension, anxiety, or discomfort aroused by an obtrusive

thought or obsession. Impulsive buyers have been known to

experience negative consequences ranging from guilt to

disappointment with the product to financial hardship. Low

self-esteem is also associated with compulsive behavior. It

has been suggested that compulsive behaviors are an attempt

to temporarily block or overcome these feelings. Past

research has lead researchers to develop a model that

assumes that physiological, genetic, psychological, social,

and cultural factors all contribute to the development of

compulsive behaviors and the present study seems to add to

the existing research base.

The research process began with the observation of

group therapy sessions with approximately fifty compulsive

buyers. Therapists that were treating the disorder

conducted several group and individual interviews and read

more than a thousand letters from the compulsive buyers.

The information gathered was then used to compare against

results of a mail survey given to other shoppers. In

addition, five in-depth qualitative interviews with

individual compulsive buyers were completed and transcribed.

The sample of compulsive buyers was obtained from people who

had written to the California-based self-help group for

problem buyers. The quantitative part of this study

involved a survey administered to self-identified problem

buyers and to a more general sample of consumers. Although

the sample used in this research was fairly large and

decentralized, there were a couple of restrictions to be

considered. First, the desire for self help may make the

this sample unrepresentative of compulsive buyers who do not

seek help. Second, it is probable that the self-identified

problem buyers will include some people who have spending or

debt problems, but are not true compulsive buyers. The

statistical analysis of the data and information obtained by

the authors research is suitable for reinforcing the results

given. The restrictions taken in to consideration are

minimal and the sample was large enough, compared to the

subject matter, that reasonable results can be expected.

The findings in this study were as follows: The sample

of compulsive buyers had a significantly higher mean score

on the MMPI psychasthenia (obsessive-compulsive) subscale

than did the general sample of consumers. This suggests the

greater probability of the presence of related traits,

behaviors, and personality dimensions, in relation to

overall compulsives. Compulsive buyers also had lower

self-esteem scores than those in the comparison strata, and

there was a significantly higher fantasy-imaginative level

among the compulsive buyers than with the general


The end result of this study showed a difference

between compulsive and impulsive buyers when it came to the

motivational factors of purchasing or possessing? The

results showed that compulsive buyers do not have any

greater desire than others to own things. Rather,

differences in materialism seem to be predominantly due to

differing levels of envy and non-generosity.

This article was very informative and full of

information regarding some of the excessive behaviors of

consumers. The authors did an excellent job relaying not

only their results and findings of the study, but also how

the information was gathered and assessed. The knowledge

gained from this article could be very helpful to someone,

possibly even myself, who might posses compulsive behaviors.

The only suggestions I might have for a future study on the

topic of compulsive buyers would be an assessment of which

type of products seem to be the largest target of compulsive



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