Prevalence and characteristics of compulsive buying in college students

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Arit Harvanko
  • Katherine Lust
  • Brian Lawrence Odlaug
  • Liana R N Schreiber
  • Katherine Derbyshire
  • Gary Christenson
  • Jon E Grant
Compulsive buying (CB) is a potentially devastating problem involving repetitive urges to shop and uncontrolled spending behaviors. Prevalence of CB in the general population has been estimated at 5.8%. This epidemiological study aims to better understand the prevalence and characteristics of college students who meet criteria for CB. During the spring of 2011, an online survey examining CB (using a clinically validated screening instrument, the Minnesota Impulse Disorders Interview), stress and mood states, psychiatric comorbidity, and psychosocial functioning was emailed to 2108 University students. Overall survey response rate was 35.1% (n=2108). Our data indicated that 3.6% (n=67) of college students surveyed met criteria for CB with significantly more women affected (4.4%, n=48) than men (2.5%, n=19). Relative to students not meeting criteria for CB, college students who met criteria for CB endorsed significantly greater psychiatric comorbidity, lower grade point averages, increased stress, and poorer physical health. Presence of CB is likely associated with a variety of problems in college students. These data may warrant increased screening of CB in college students to establish early interventions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)1079-85
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 30 Dec 2013

ID: 103014689