The relationship between compulsive buying and eating disorders




Compulsive buying has received increased research attention in the last decade. The disorder has high rates of comorbidity for other disorders, including eating disorders. This study explored the possible relationship between compulsive buying and eating disorders.


Twenty women who scored in the pathological range on a measure of compulsive buying and 20 controls were recruited via the media. Various measures of psychopathology and eating disorder symptoms were administered to both groups.


Compulsive buyers were significantly more likely to have a higher lifetime history of substance abuse or dependence. No differences existed between normal controls and compulsive buyers in prevalence of current or lifetime eating disorders, nor were there differences in scores of eating-related psychopathology.


This work failed to demonstrate an increased risk for eating disorders in compulsive buyers, although a higher rate of substance dependence or abuse and higher scores on pathological personality dimension scales were seen. © 2002 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 32:107–111, 2002.