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Home > Retail Therapy has Causal Link to Sadness

Retail Therapy has Causal Link to Sadness

November 16th, 2012 at 05:27 am

A few of you may remember my post where I talked about spending a lot of money when I lost someone very close to me. Well, according to this link, sadness apparently causes people to make bad financial decisions.


From the article:
'"Our results suggest that individuals who are sad after the death of a family member might exacerbate their financial hardship by making intertemporal choices that favor immediate consumption more than is wise," the researchers wrote.'

What I find interesting is that being behind on everything tends to make people feel bad - which must be close to being sad - which might cause them to become even more behind due to bad decisions.

I know that I did exactly what the research indicates. Anecdotal, assuredly, but still it jibes with my personal experiences.

2 Responses to “Retail Therapy has Causal Link to Sadness”

  1. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    If what you postulate is true, it seems like it could be an eternal downward spiral. Feel bad, spend and get more behind. Consequently feel worse, spend and get more behind. What can interrupt the cycle?

  2. Wino Says:

    We call such a system a "positive feedback system." It does not mean that the outcome is positive. It means that some effect causes a response that intensifies the effect. If you've ever heard an old speaker system screech its feedback, that's one example, and a fairly obvious one that shows why this type of system is not usually wanted.

    The only way to interrupt would be to break the cycle somehow. How do you make someone stop being sad, causing them to spend, which causes them more sadness? I'd say cold turkey is possibly the only way, which is basically what the Dave Ramsey method does. Maybe that's why he and his system are so successful. He's got a way to break this positive feedback cycle.

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