A study from a university in the Netherlands is now saying people who shop to lift their spirits may want to put down their credit cards, because it could actually be making them sadder.
The study from the Tilburg University in the Netherlands followed over 2,500 consumers over the course of six years, and found that, over time, this "retail therapy" tended to make some people feel more depressed and alone, which only perpetuated the habit and turned it into a cycle. The marketing professors conducting the study found that over time, regardless of the participants' income, materialism was associated with an increase in loneliness and vice versa.
Researchers concluded that although a person's first desire is often to connect with others when lonely, it is usually easier to just go shopping. "Relationships can be hard. People can say no, but an iPad can't," said study author Rik Peters to NBC News.
The study found that all shoppers did not have the same reaction to the "retail therapy". Those who agreed with statements such as "I admire people who own expensive things", and "It's important to have lots of things in life", were more likely to experience the shopping and sadness issue.