Compulsive Buying Among College Students: An Investigation of Its Antedecents, Consequences, and Implications for Public Policy



This study is an investigation of the incidence, antecedents, consequences, and public policy implications of compulsive buying among college students, a segment of the 44 million Americans born between 1965 and 1976, known as the Baby Bust generation. Previous research involving a broader range of adult consumers resulted in estimates of one to six percent classified as compulsive, buyers. Using Faber and O'Guinn's (1992) clinical screener for compulsive buying, six percent of the college students sampled were classified as compulsive buyers, thus indicating the need for better understanding of compulsive buying behavior in this segment of the Baby Bust generation. Various contributing factors, including familial, psychological, sociological, and demographic influences, are detailed. Of particular interest is the relationship between credit card use and compulsive buying. Implications for consumer policy are discussed, and suggestions for research are offered.