Cognitions in compulsive buying and acquisition

Michael Kyrios, Randy Frost, Gail Steketee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

117 Citations (Scopus)


Compulsive buying is a disabling condition associated with a chronic failure to control the urge to purchase objects. Compulsive buying is closely related to major depression, obsessive–compulsive disorder, and in particular, compulsive hoarding. Like compulsive hoarding, compulsive buying is thought to be influenced by a range of cognitive domains including deficits in decision-making, emotional attachments to objects and erroneous beliefs about possessions, and other maladaptive beliefs. This study examined cognitive factors related to compulsive buying among 189 participants, described by R. O. Frost, G. Steketee, and L. F. Williams (2002), of whom 75 were classified as “compulsive buyers” and 85 as “controls.” Beliefs associated with compulsive buying were assessed with the newly developed 43-item self-report Buying Cognitions Inventory (BCI). Other cognitive styles (i.e., perfectionism) and processing (i.e., decision-making) were also assessed. Overall, this study supported a theoretical model of compulsive buying addressing 5 main domains: (a) depressed mood; (b) compromised self-perceptions and perfectionistic expectations; (c) erroneous beliefs about the nature of objects, potential purchases, and purchasing opportunities; (d) erroneous beliefs about the psychological benefits of buying; and (e) decision-making difficulties.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-258
Number of pages18
JournalCognitive Therapy and Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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