• acquisition;
  • compulsive buying;
  • distress tolerance;
  • emotion regulation


Compulsive buying (CB) is not only associated with impulse control disorders and specific domains of impulsivity, but is also highly comorbid with negative affect and depression, making it a candidate disorder to be characterised by poor emotion regulation. Despite emerging research supporting an association between distress tolerance and disorders of dysregulated behaviour, no study has investigated distress tolerance in the context of CB. The aim of the current study was to explore the relationship between CB and four specific domains of distress tolerance (appraisal, tolerance, absorption, regulation) and experiential avoidance. In a community-recruited sample of compulsive buyers (n = 47) and healthy controls (n = 38), CB was significantly associated with each of the domains of distress tolerance (Distress Tolerance Scale). Furthermore, CB was associated with greater experiential avoidance (Acceptance and Action Questionnaire), which was in turn associated with each domain of distress tolerance. Analysis of variance demonstrated significant group differences in all measures. Nonparametric bootstrapping analysis revealed that general psychopathology, impulsivity, and experiential avoidance could not fully account for the relationship between distress tolerance and CB severity. Results suggest that distress tolerance and experiential avoidance may represent therapeutic targets in CB. Limitations and future directions are discussed.