Study Shows Children of Divorce Linked to Compulsive Buying as Adults
A study published in the Journal of Consumer Affairs found childhood stress may be the cause of compulsive behavior habits in adulthood. In fact, experiencing parents divorcing was cited as one of the major stressors children can experience. The root of this behavior, cites lead researcher Dr. George P. Moschis of Georgetown University, is that when a child is dealing with upheaval and stress in the home, they look for comfort and satisfaction away from the home.
According to Moschis, when a child deals with turmoil at home, it may cause his or her self-esteem to suffer. A child may also deal with a great amount of insecurity. These emotions can carry into adulthood and cause the person to attempt to alleviate those feelings or “medicate their emotions” by purchasing items that make him or her feel good. Moschis says the purchases begin to alleviate the bad feelings, but can eventually escalate into compulsive buying.
What compounds this problem for children of divorce is that often the divorce resulted in a loss of what Moschis refers to as material resources for the child. Some studies put the loss of income in a divorced family to as much as 45 percent. This creates more distress for the child, who may also be heavily influenced by the media and peers into believing that having the most up-to-date electronics, latest fashion trends, etc., will cause happiness.
For the study, the research team surveyed 327 college students from two universities. The students were asked questions regarding their family history and their own spending habits. Although the team admits that this was a relatively small group of participants, they say their results were significant and also in line with other studies that have been conducted and concluded the same finding.
If you are considering a divorce and anticipate child custody issues, please contact an experienced Geneva family law attorney today to discuss your legal options.