Retail Therapy Linked to Depression

Depression Triggers an Urge for Retail Therapy
Depression Triggers an Urge for Retail Therapy

By Marene Gustin

Okay, we kind of already knew this, but just in case you were wondering there’s now a study to confirm that depression can lead to spending too much money. (Also, massive consumption of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.)

Researchers from Carnegie Mellon, Harvard, Stanford, and the University of Pittsburgh showed 33 volunteers a video clip of either grief following a tragic death or a nature scene. Afterwards they were given a chance to buy a sports water bottle. Those who had seen the sad clip offered 300 times more money for the bottle than the rest. (We can only imagine the outcome if the purchase had been shoes.)

One long-time researcher of retail therapy suggested further study is needed to see if buying actually makes people feel better.

“We suspect that even if it does make them feel better, it’s only in the short term,” said Beverly Hills psychiatrist Dr. Carole Lieberman.

Check out the June issue of Psychological Science for the full published report.

They probably could have saved a lot of effort by just studying Britney Spears, who took time out of her public meltdown last month to buy a Mercedes Benz SLK350. Which, even at $55,000, didn’t seem to help too much.