May 22, 2009

Money worries make women spend more

[Posted: Thu 21/05/2009 by Olivia Fens]

More than three quarters of women would go on a shopping spree to cheer themselves up, a new study suggests.

Looking at the findings of the study, which involved more than 700 women, researchers are now warning that the recession could force more women to overspend, which could increase their risk of mental illness.

In the study, from the University of Hertfordshire, 79% of the women said they would go on a spending spree to cheer themselves up.

Four out of ten women named 'depression' as the reason to go on a spending spree and overspend. Six out of ten said 'feeling a bit low' was their reason for overspending.

The women commonly expressed the view that shopping had the power to make them feel better.

However, not all the women in the survey felt cheered up by the spending spree experience.

One in four had experienced feelings of regret, guilt or shame after buying something in the week prior to the survey. And seven out of ten women had worried about money during the same period.

“This type of spending, or compensatory consumption, serves as a way of regulating intense emotions,” the researchers said.

“If shopping is an emotional habit for women they may feel the need to keep spending despite the economic downturn. Or, perhaps worse still, if they can’t spend we might see an increase in mental health problems such as anxiety and depression,” the researchers added.