The Measurement of Compulsive Buying and Its Application to Internet Buyers


It has been more than 20 years since the issue of compulsive buying behavior was introduced to the consumer research literature (Faber, O'Guinn, &Krych, 1987). This pioneering research has helped to awaken researchers' interest in a troubling issue in consumer behavior. The incidence of compulsive buying ( CB) was estimated to range between 2 percent and 8 percent of consumers in the United States 15 years ago (Faber & O'Guinn, 1992). More recently, 5.8 percent of U.S. consumers were estimated to have CB (Koran et al., 2006). However, other researchers believe that these estimates are too low and that there is an increasing tendency by consumers to buy compulsively in both the United States and other developed countries (Miiller & de Zwaan, 2004; Neuner, Raab, & Reisch, 2005). The continuous stream of research articles, books, television documentaries, and Web sites addressing CB and the problems it creates shows that the issue remains a concern (Benson, 2008; Chaker, 2003; McElroy, Phillips, & Keck, 1994; Mellan & Christie, 1997; www.stoppingovershopping.com). Therefore it is imperative that consumer researchers better understand and accurately measure the tendency of consumers to compulsively buy.

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Copyright © 2011 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. This book chapter first appeared in Compulsive Buying: Clinical Foundations and Treatment.

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