Do You Shop When You're Stressed?

Suzanne Murray

addicted to shopping, shopaholicThere might be a recession going on, but that doesn't mean we've stopped shopping. In fact, scientists say women are more likely to splurge at the mall during bad times.

A new survey in Britain found that 50% of women are scared by the recession, and 75% said they would be making cutbacks. But 79 percent of women there said they would splurge to cheer themselves up.

Of the 700 women surveyed, 40% said depression was an excuse to overspend; and 60% said "feeling a bit low" was a good enough reason.

"This type of spending, or compensatory consumption, serves as a way of regulating intense emotions," says Karen Pine, author of Sheconomics.

The need to shop when feeling blue has long been known to overwhelm some people—many researchers even liken it to addiction.

In fact, a 2006 study in the U.S. showed that 6% of women here have it so bad, they are labeled compulsive buyers.

Pine says this behavior can be more pronounced in a recession. While some womenuse drugs and alcohol to regulate their emotions, shopping has become an increasingly popular way of doing so. So women worried about money could end up spending even more.

Unfortunately, shopping doesn't always make you feel as good as you think it's going to. It might be fun while you're making purchases, but after a shopping spree, most women end up feeling regret, guilt or shame.

Do you shop to make yourself feel better—even when you don't have the money? Does it make you feel better or worse? What's a recent purchase that you regret?

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