From Impulsiveness to Compulsive Consumption

  • John C. Mowen


Two studies are reported that investigate the ability of the 3M to answer three research questions related to compulsive buying among consumers. The first research question asked: what is the relationship of compulsive buying to competitiveness? The results revealed a weak negative relationship between competitiveness and compulsive buying when the effects of the elemental traits are accounted for. A second research question asked: what is the relationship between impulsiveness and compulsive buying? Impulsiveness was found to be a strong predictor of compulsive buying. Exploratory research was conducted to answer the third research question of whether the 3M’s hierarchical model can account for more variance in compulsive buying than the Rokeach Value Inventory (Rokeach 1979) and the LOV Scale (Kahle 1983). Neither the Rokeach Value Inventory nor the LOV Scale accounted for significant variance in compulsive buying. Overall, the results revealed that impulsiveness and three of the elemental traits had significant relationships with compulsive buying: emotional stability (negative), material needs, and conscientiousness (negative). Elemental traits predictive of impulsiveness were: emotional stability (negative), materialism, conscientiousness (negative), extraversion, and openness to experience (negative). Across the two studies, the mean level of variance accounted for in compulsive buying was 34 percent. Cluster analysis revealed four segments of consumers with divergent patterns of traits associated with compulsive buying. The implications of the results for communications and counseling to reduce compulsive buying are discussed.


Coefficient Alpha Emotional Stability Emotional Instability Student Study Conspicuous Consumption 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • John C. Mowen
    • 1
  1. 1.Oklahoma State UniversityUSA

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