Determinants of object choice and object attachment: compensatory consumption in compulsive buying–shopping disorder and hoarding disorder

Melissa Norberg, Jonathan David, Cassandra Crone, Vani Kakar, Cathy Kwok, Jake Olivier, Jessica R. Grisham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
52 Downloads (Pure)


Background and aims
Individuals who meet criteria for compulsive buying–shopping disorder (i.e., acquiring problems only) or hoarding disorder (i.e., acquiring and discarding problems) may acquire possessions to compensate for unmet belonging needs, but may do so in different ways. Those with compulsive buying–shopping disorder may acquire objects that they believe will relieve the distress associated with unmet belonging needs (e.g., objects that distract or comfort), whereas those with hoarding disorder may acquire objects that they believe achieve belonging needs (e.g., objects that have interpersonal connotations). Accordingly, this study examined whether a belongingness threat would drive individuals who excessively acquire possessions to choose a human-like object (person-shaped tea holder) or a comfort item (box of chamomile tea).
One hundred seventy-five participants (57 self-reported excessive acquiring only; 118 self-reported excessive acquiring and difficulty discarding) recalled a time when they either felt supported or unsupported by a significant other before choosing an object to take home with them. Participants rated how anthropomorphic and comforting the objects were as well as how attached they became to their chosen object.
Unsupported individuals were more likely to acquire the comfort item than supported individuals; however, individuals with both acquiring and discarding problems were more likely to acquire the human-like item than those with an acquiring problem only. Comfort and anthropomorphism ratings predicted object choice and attachment.
Discussions and conclusion
The current findings extend the Compensatory Consumer Behavior Model to include what factors determine strategy choice and object attachment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-162
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Behavioral Addictions
Issue number1
Early online date2020
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2019. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • anthropomorphism
  • belonging
  • interpersonal problems
  • belonging needs
  • hoarding disorder
  • compulsive shopping


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