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ABSTRACT

This research examines compulsive buying as an impulse-control disorder, a form of maladaptive behavior believed to have its roots in early-in-life experiences of family adversities. Unlike previous research that has typically studied only the effects of family divorce on compulsive buying, this study examines the effects of disruptive family events within the broader multitheoretical life course framework. A sample of 327 young adults is used to test the hypothesized relationships derived from the main life course perspectives. The results show alternate paths leading to compulsive buying, beyond those uncovered in previous studies. By offering a broader overarching framework, the article shows how previous efforts to study compulsive buying can be improved, pointing to the value of the multitheoretical life course approach in understanding consumption phenomena.