Cutting Edge Research

First Epidemiological Study of Compulsive Buying in 14 Years

The first epidemiological study of compulsive buying in the U.S. in 14 years is about to be published, co-authored by Lorrin Koran, M.D., of Stanford University and Ron Faber, Ph.D., of the University of Minnesota. The random telephone survey of 2,513 adults, chosen to be representative of the U.S. population, includes data on the prevalence of compulsive buying, ages, gender distribution, debt loads, and income distribution of the sample. The study will be published in the American Journal of Psychiatry later this year; expect it to be picked up by the major news services, so be on the lookout.

First Psychotherapeutic Treatment Study of Compulsive Buying

Over the five-year period 2000-2005, a team of therapists and researchers headed by James Mitchell, M.D., of the Neuropsychiatry Research Institute in Fargo, North Dakota, led compulsive buyers through a fourteen-session group intervention program, primarily cognitive-behavioral in orientation. After the program, the twenty-eight overshoppers showed significant advantages over a waiting list control group, both on objective measures of compulsive buying and on behavioral measures, including number of compulsive buying episodes and time spent buying. The improvement was well-maintained when the group members were followed up six months later.

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