Expert: Difficult Childhoods Could Lead To Excessive Spending Later In Life

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Here’s one more thing to feel guilty about: You could be putting your child at risk for a shopping addiction.

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According to a new study, certain types of childhood experiences might be to blame, CBS 2’s Emily Smith reported Tuesday.

The very idea of “shopaholics” sounds like a joke at first, but not to Pat Mulholland after she heard that the study finds parents may be to blame for their kids’ out-of-control spending.

“I’m not going to be one of those guilty mothers that remembers everything, who feels bad about it,” Mulholland said.

The study in the Journal of Consumer Affairs links a difficult childhood, including divorce, to compulsive shopping later in life.

The questionnaire focused on teenage years, since that’s when the part of the brain that controls impulsive behavior develops.

“Addiction very much involves an area of the brain called the hypothalamus,” psychologist Harris Stratyner said.

Stratyner said according to the study some kids who experienced a disruptive family event went looking for comfort, trying to fill a void by buying new things.

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“And as a result they start to shop more,” Stratyner said.

But Stratyner also said it’s not that simple.

“There are many reasons why we become the adults we are. But to blame it on your parents, I think is misguided,” he said.

Shopping addiction can also be traced to your peers and even heredity, experts said.

Experts advise couples going through family drama to be extra supportive to their children, with an emphasis on financial responsibility.

The study took place at Hofstra University and involved more than 300 students to test the studies’ theories.

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