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13 J. Consumer Pol'y 15 (1990)
An Inquiry into the Compulsive Side of "Normal" Consumers

handle is hein.journals/jrncpy13 and id is 15 raw text is: Alain d'Astous
An Inquiry into the Compulsive Side of
Normal Consumers
ABSTRACT. This article reports on a study designed to investigate the nature of
compulsive-like buying behavior in the general consumer population. A previously
tested compulsive buying scale was administered to a sample of 190 consumers. As
predicted by the hypotheses, compulsive buying tendencies correlate negatively with
self-esteem and positively with the extent of irrational credit card usage. Several
other findings are reported and discussed. Thus women are shown to be higher on
compulsive buying than men. Also, compulsive buying tendencies correlate
negatively with age and positively with one's susceptibility to social influence.
Finally, the data suggest that early consumption experiences may affect significantly
the extent of compulsive-like buying behavior. Areas where further research should
be done are identified.
Early conceptions of consumer motivation have linked buying
motives to psychological and functional consequences associated
with the purchase of products and brands. For instance, Udell
(1964) proposed a buying motive continuum where, at one extreme,
operational buying motives stem from the expected satisfaction to be
gained from the performance of the product and, at the other
extreme, psychological buying motives are linked to the consumer's
social and psychological interpretation of the product and its per-
formance. Subsequent proposals have stressed the importance of
looking at motives not necessarily associated with product usage.
Tauber (1972), for example, has investigated the reasons why people
shop. On the basis of a small number of in-depth interviews he has
hypothesized various personal and social shopping motives such as
diversion, self-gratification, sensory stimulation, physical activity, and
so on. Holbrook and Hirschman (1982) have also criticized the
consumer research focus on product benefits and utilitarian func-
tions and have urged consumer researchers to study consumption
phenomena such as sensory pleasures, daydreaming, esthetic enjoy-
ment, and the like.
A rather extreme perspective on buying motivation has recently
emerged in the consumer research literature. Termed compulsive
consumption (Faber & O'Guinn, 1988; Faber, O'Guinn, & Krych,

Journal of Consumer Policy 13: 15-31, 1990.
C 1990 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.

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