One area of consumption disorders receiving a great deal of attention lately is compulsive buying. Researchers have begun moving from descriptive studies of this phenomenon to attempts to explain some of its causal mechanisms. One possible explanation is that such behavior may serve as a way of self-medicating depression and negative affect for compulsive buyers. This study examines reported mood states prior to and during shopping for 24 compulsive buyers and a matched comparison group. The findings indicated that relative to the comparison group, the compulsive buyers reported feeling most of the mood states more frequently prior to going shopping, especially the more negative moods. Compulsive buyers also more frequently experienced extreme moods (both positive and negative), while shopping than did the comparison group. When within-subject differences were examined for preshopping and shopping moods, compulsive buyers were more likely to move from negative to positive moods, whereas the opposite was true for the comparison group. The findings suggest that compulsive buyers may be using buying behavior to manage undesirable mood states. © 1996 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.