By Margarita Nahapetyan
Women during financial crisis are inclined to do more shopping and spend more money in order to rid themselves of depression associated with recession, suggest the findings of a new survey by British psychologists. The experts say that the recession could force more women to overspend or raise their risk of developing mental illness.
A survey, carried out by Karen Pine, Professor from the University of Hertfordshire and the author of Sheconomics, revealed that 79 per cent of women reported that they would go on a spending spree in order to cheer themselves up. Out of the 700 women who took part in the survey, 4 out of 10 (40 per cent) said that it was 'depression', and 6 out of 10 (60 per cent) named 'feeling a little bit low', to be the main reason for them to throw some cash on the clothes that they do not really need and spend extra money on.
Almost 50 per cent of the British ladies admitted that recession made them feel scared or even terrified, while 45 per cent said that their financial situation had taken a serious hit because of the recession and crisis in the economy. The survey also found that the three quarters of the women have already considered cutting back on spending money in the nearest future. But the overwhelming majority expressed the opinion that shopping has the power to make them feel much better.
Professor Pine and her colleagues came to the conclusion that some women use shopping in order regulate their emotions and keep them under control, they use it as a way of dealing with negative feelings or dissatisfaction with life. The experts said that this ability to be in control of one's emotions is critical for mental and physical well-being and human beings adopt a variety of possibilities of doing so, such as using drugs and alcohol, for example. Shopping appears to be one of these methods that has increasingly been adopted by many women. So worrying about finances could, no matter how paradoxically it may sound, lead women to spend more.
"If shopping is an emotional habit for women they may feel the need to keep spending in spite of the economic downturn," said Professor Pine, and added that what is even worse, if the women have no opportunity or finances to spend, they might be at an increased risk of developing mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression.
However, not all the women in the survey reported feeling cheered by the shopping experience. One out of 4 surveyors (25 per cent), said that they experienced feelings of regret, guilt or shame after buying something just one week before the survey. And 7 in ten ladies (70 per cent), had big concerns about money during the same period of time.
The problem of shopping is likely not confined to women. One survey that was carried out in 2006 in the United States, found that 6 per cent of women have it so bad that they are even being called compulsive buyers, but so are 5.5 per cent of gentlemen.
The findings were released on May 21, 2009.