new issue to society, i.e., compulsive buying (Roberts and Jones, 2001). This phenomenon among students is being concerned because of a rising number of teenagers maladaptive preoccupation with buying or shopping or frequent buying items that are not needed or cannot afforded or shopping for longer period time than intended. This phenomenon is called compulsive buying behavior.
This is based on the recent study confirmed empirically that phenomenon of compulsive buying is escalating (Neuner, Raab, and Reisch, 2005). According to the recent study which is conducted in Canada (d’Astous, Maltais, and Roberge, 1990) indicate that compulsive buying problems are present in the adolescent consumer population.
According to Kraeplin (1915) and Bleuer (1930), compulsive buying was first described in the clinical and the psychiatric literature in the beginning of the 20th century in which compulsive buying behavior also known as ‘Oniomania’. As defined in Encyclopedia, Oniomania is the scientific term for the compulsive desire to shop, often known as compulsive buying, compulsive shopping, shopping craving or shopaholism.
Over the past decade, interest in compulsive buying disorder has increased, perhaps due to increasing interest in the future obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorder (Black, 2001).
According to Eric and Andrea (2006, October), about 5.8% of the U.S population are compulsive buyer. While according to a study which conducted by University of Chicago Press Journals (2008, September) suggests that compulsive buying may affect more consumers than previously demonstrated. This study suggests that as many as 8.9% of the population can be classified as compulsive buyer. This proved that compulsive buying behavior widens almost every day, with the recent research, studies, and reports related to compulsive buying published in Canada, Mexico, and Brazil, most of the countries of Western Europe, Israel, Australia, South Korea, and now even China.
There are a lot of researches about compulsive buying implicate that there are many causes that contribute to make this phenomenon happened. For instance, according to Valence, d’Astous and Fortier (1988), they consider family, genetic, situational, and biological factors and anxiety as the factors that lead to the appearance of compulsive buying behavior. While based on the approach of Scherhorn, Reisch and Raab (1990), Edwards (1992), and Cole (1995), the role of the family and personality traits are one of the factors that lead to the development of compulsive buying behavior.
Besides that, consumer science researchers have been focusing on the characteristic and the previous conditions of compulsive buying, such as having a more compulsive personality, lower self esteem, and more intensely fantasy life than normal consumers (Faber and O’Guinn, 1992; Lee, Lenno, and Rudd, 2000: O’Guinn and Faber, 1989; Valence, d’Asous, and Fortier, 1988).
1.1.1 Factors Influencing the Consumer’s Compulsive Buying Behavior
Based on previous research, there are a lot of factors that can contribute to the appearance of this phenomenon. Hence, this study will focus on the few factors that contribute to the appearance of compulsive buying behavior among students i.e., self-esteem, materialistic value and attitude towards money (power, anxiety and distrust) among students to investigate the relationship between the factors and the compulsive buying behavior.
Compulsive buyer always have stronger emotional that related to buying motivation, such as they will buy things uncontrolled when they are in the condition of low self-esteem or negative mood. It has been found out that compulsive buying tendencies are significantly negatively related to an individual’s self-esteem. DeSarbo and Edwards (1996) state that poor self-esteem is correlated with compulsive buying behavior. This implies that individuals, who use buying to compensate for their self-esteem, are more prone to develop compulsive buying behavior. Chang and Arkin (2002) found that people with low self-esteem and market self-doubt are obviously eager consumers.
Belk (1985) states that previous research has shown that compulsive buyers scored significantly higher on materialism subscales. Watson (2003) found that materialistic people tended to be more likely to spend money, more likely to express positive attitude towards borrowing money for luxury purchases than were less materialistic people.
Attitude towards money
Yamauchi and Templer (1982) defined that money attitude of power-prestige, distrust, and anxiety is closely related to compulsive buying. There are total of five component which being included in this scale, which are power-prestige (use of money to influence and impress), retention-time (money behaviors requiring planning and preparation for the future), distrust (doubt and mistrust associated with money transactions), anxiety (an attitude that money is a cause of anxiety as well as a cause of protection from anxiety), and quality (purchasing quality products as a main behavior. Roberts and Jones (2001) explained that the following research has focused on power, anxiety and distrust because of their overlap in the major money attitude research of both Furham and Yamauchi.
1.1.2 Significant difference between gender and compulsive buying behavior
Gender does appear to be a major factor. A previous study found that majority of compulsive buyers is female (Faber 1992; O’Guinn and Faber 1989; Scherhorn, Reisch, and Raab 1990). In contrast, Roberts and Tanner (2000) argue that they are failed to find any gender differences on a study among adolescents. Thus, some researchers question gender differences are an artifact created because males are less likely to make known their problematic behaviors (Faber and O’Guinn 1992; Roberts 1998). For this reason, regarding the question involving the gender differences, gender will be one of the variables which will be focused on this study too.
1.2 Problem Statement
Young people are the parents, decision-makers, business people and the leaders of tomorrow. Behavior termed compulsive buying in clinical literature; has started to attract research notice (Black, 2004; Dittmar, 2004a; Faber, 2004). Hence, due to the growing number of people involved in uncontrolled, excessive buying, this has lead to psychological sadness and serious effects on individuals’ lives, such as debt (Benson, 2000; Dittmar, 2004b). Moreover, a recent study confirmed empirically that phenomenon of compulsive buying is escalating (Neuner, Raab, and Reisch, 2005).
Nowadays, teenagers are still easily being influenced by all kinds of factors. As a people who are concern about the future of the teenagers, they need to find out the root cause of determining this compulsive buying behavior among teenagers and try to address this problem. Therefore, the life of development of the teenagers will be perfect in the future because they realize the factor which causes the forming of this behavior.
This study is being carried out to investigate the influence of three selected factors i.e., self-esteem, materialistic value and attitude towards money (power, anxiety and distrust) among students which contribute to compulsive buying behavior. In addition, this study is also aimed to the difference of male and female students in their compulsive buying behavior.
Thus, based on the scenario and problem discussed earlier, this study attempts to answer the following questions:
How does self-esteem influence student’s compulsive buying behavior?
Is there any relationship between materialistic value and compulsive buying behavior?
Does attitude towards money (power, anxiety and distrust) have an impact on compulsive buying behavior?
Do male and female students differ in their compulsive buying behavior?
1.3 Significant of the Study
Young people are the future of tomorrow. As a recent study confirmed empirically that compulsive buying is on the increase (Neuner el al., 2005), therefore it is a need to undergo this study to investigate the relationship of the three selected factors which contribute to compulsive buying behavior among students, and gender differences in compulsive buying behavior. The significant of the study can be viewed from various perspectives.
From consumer perspective, consumer can gain a lot of information about compulsive buying behavior that they may never hear before. They can know the factors which contribute to this compulsive buying behavior and can enhance the knowledge of this kind behavior. Hence, they will be more concern about this growing issue especially among teenagers which are easily influenced by the environment.
From marketer perspective, compulsive buying behavior will boost up the economy of our country and at the same time, marketers can gain a lot of profits due to this issue. This is because in the marketer’s mind set, profit maximization is the main goals that they want to achieve.
From non-government organization’s (NGO) perspective, they have be more patient on educating and addressing this social behavior compulsive buying among society especially teenagers because uncontrolled and excessive buying will lead to others social related problems for instance financial problems, heavier credit card usage and so on.
1.4 Objectives of the Study
1.4.1 General Objective
This study aims to investigate compulsive buying behavior among University Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) Students.
1.4.2 Specific Objectives
1) To examine the influence of self-esteem on student’s compulsive buying behavior.
. 2) To investigate the relationship between materialistic value and compulsive buying behavior.
3) To determine the effect of attitude towards money (power, anxiety and distrust) on compulsive buying behavior.
4) To differentiate compulsive buying behavior among male and female students.
1.5 Hypothesis of the Study
Ho: There is no significant relationship between self-esteem and compulsive buying behavior.
Ho: There is no significant relationship between materialistic value and compulsive buying behavior.
Ho: There is no significant relationship between attitude towards money (power, anxiety, and distrust) and compulsive buying behavior.
Ho: There is no significant difference in compulsive buying between male and female students.
1.6 Limitations of the Study
The current study is only focused on the students of University Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) at Kampar, Perak. In this study, sample size is one of the limitations. The sample size is comparatively small as it only limited to the students who go into library of University Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) Kampar, Perak. Hence, the study is hard to represent the whole population of students. Besides that, this study cannot specify to all the students in University Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) because there are only 100 students will be selected as the sample of the study.
The truthfulness of the study is based on the honesty of the respondents when they fill in the information in the questionnaire. In contrast, the misunderstanding of the respondents towards the questions might influence the reliability and validity of the result.
Subsequently, time and power that can be used by the researchers are limited.
1.7 Research Framework
This study consists of two independent variables (factors influencing compulsive buying behavior and gender) and one dependent variable (compulsive buying behavior).
Factors influencing compulsive buying behavior
Attitude towards money
Compulsive Buying Behavior
Figure 1: Research Framework
1.8 Definition of Terminology
The conceptual and operational definitions of the main key terms are as shown below:
1.8.1 Compulsive Buying Behavior
Conceptual: Compulsive buying behavior is defined as “chronic, cyclical purchasing that becomes a primary response to negative feeling” (O’ Guinn and Faber, 1989).
Operational: Compulsive buying behavior in this study is refers to excessive, uncontrolled frequent buying items that are not needed or cannot afford which addicted by students.
Conceptual: Self-esteem is a term used in psychology to reflect a person’s overall evaluation of his or her own worth. Self-esteem includes viewpoint and emotions such as triumph, depression, satisfaction and embarrassment (Wikipedia, 2010).
Operational: Self-esteem in this study is refers to the students positive or negative attitude towards himself or herself and evaluation of his or her own worth.
1.8.3 Materialistic value
Conceptual: Highly materialistic value people believes that the acquisition of material goods is a central life goal, prime indicator of success, and key to happiness and self-definition (Richins, 2004).
Operational: Materialistic value in this study is refers to materialistic value among students in which can be achieved by acquisitioning material goods to fulfill own satisfaction.
1.8.4 Attitude towards money
Conceptual: There are of total of five component which is being included in attitude towards money, which are power-prestige (use of money to influence and impress), retention-time (money behaviors requiring planning and preparation for the future), distrust (doubt and mistrust linked with money transactions), anxiety (an attitude that money is a cause of anxiety as well as a cause of protection from anxiety), and quality (purchasing quality products as a main behavior (Yamauchi and Templer, 1982). Roberts and Jones (2001) explained that the following research has focused on power, anxiety and distrust because of their overlap in the major money attitude research of both Furham and Yamauchi.
Operational: Attitude towards money in this study refers to the three components which are power, anxiety and