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The Dark Side Of Retail Therapy
Just as stress can drive an alcoholic to drink or an overeater to binge, it can also drive a highly materialistic person to the nearest boutique. So finds new research led by Ayalla Ruvio, PhD, assistant professor of marketing at Michigan State University's Broad College of Business. She and her team conducted a study of 139 Israelis during months of direct rocket hits from neighboring Palestine. Their findings, as well as those of another study they did with U.S. citizens, were recently published in theJournal of the Academy of Marketing Science.
"Those who really loved their possessions dealt with the stress by acquiring even more material goods," said Dr. Ruvio. "This is satisfying in the short-term, maybe, but not so much in the long-term." Stress or no stress, rockets or no rockets, the bills still come due, only adding to the problem in the first place.
Dr. Ruvio thought the reaction stemmed from a fear of mortality. In the study on Americans, she also found that materialistic people strove to relieve fear of death through impulsive spending.
“Materialistic people place a higher premium on possessions versus other outlets like friends or community because they have low self-esteem and a strong need for control,” she said. When they lose control of a situation, they try to remedy it with their usual patterns of compulsive spending to alleviate the stress, she said.
We all live in a world of stress, but healthy coping mechanisms don't include indulging in impulsive behaviors, Dr. Ruvio said. “Reach out to others who can help you move away from that road, which is very slippery.
Video: Kourtney Kardashian Takes Reign For Retail Therapy While Scott Disick Is In Rehab
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