The Real Reason You Over-Shop? Your Parents!

Cheryl Lock
Posted

reason overspendMy mother will be so pleased there’s something new that I can blame her for.

According to a new paper published in The Journal of Consumer Affairs, certain childhood experiences may be more likely to put kids at risk for becoming compulsive shoppers.

In order to do their research, the paper’s authors looked at “life course paradigms,” or the role that early life experiences have in adult behaviors. “When children are growing up, they might experience disruptions like divorce, or not living with both parents, and because of these experiences, their development and day-to-day life gets impacted, which can eventually impact their compulsive buying behavior,” Anil Mathur, professor of marketing at Hofstra University and co-author of the paper told U.S. News & World Report.

More than 300 university students were polled to test the authors’ theories. Students filled out questionnaires covering topics like family stress, family communication style and their own buying tendencies and whether they would label them as compulsive or not.

According to the results, disruptive family events did seem to create stress, as well as help lead to compulsive buying later in life. “Research findings show that controlling family environments are likely to rear children who are oriented toward hedonically gratifying behaviors,” the authors wrote.

But they also found that living through divorce doesn’t automatically make you a compulsive shopper. And the best antidote to family turmoil wasn’t giving kids another credit card or more money to make up for the mess. Instead, the researchers found, no matter what happened, the key to instilling healthy behavior was talking to kids about money. And you don’t need a research grant to know that.

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