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      Treatments for compulsive buying: A systematic review of the quality, effectiveness and progression of the outcome evidence

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          Background and aims

          This review appraises the progression and status of the evidence base for the treatment of compulsive buying disorder (CBD), in order to highlight what currently works and to prompt useful future research.


          Online databases ISI Web of Knowledge, PsycINFO, and PubMed via Ovid were searched at two time points. Two quality checklists and an established model of therapy evaluation (hourglass model) evaluated the quality and progression of both psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy treatments for CBD. Uncontrolled effect sizes were calculated and meta-regression analyses were performed regarding treatment duration.


          A total of 29 articles met the inclusion criteria, which were divided into psychotherapy ( n = 17) and pharmacotherapy treatments ( n = 12). Of the 29 studies, only 5 studies have been tested under conditions of high methodological quality. Both forms of treatment had been evaluated in a haphazard manner across the stages of the hourglass model. Although large effects were demonstrated for group psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy, such evidence of effectiveness was undermined by poor study quality and risk of publication bias. Long-term CBD treatment was associated with improved outcome with pharmacotherapy, but not when delivering psychotherapy.


          Group psychotherapy currently appears the most promising treatment option for CBD. Poor methodological control and sporadic evaluation of specific treatments have slowed the generation of a convincing evidence base for CBD treatment. Defining the active ingredients of effective CBD treatment is a key research goal.

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          Most cited references 70

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          Synthesizing standardized mean-change measures

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            Effectiveness of Web-based Interventions on Patient Empowerment: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

            Background Patient empowerment is growing in popularity and application. Due to the increasing possibilities of the Internet and eHealth, many initiatives that are aimed at empowering patients are delivered online. Objective Our objective was to evaluate whether Web-based interventions are effective in increasing patient empowerment compared with usual care or face-to-face interventions. Methods We performed a systematic review by searching the MEDLINE, EMBASE, and PsycINFO databases from January 1985 to January 2009 for relevant citations. From the 7096 unique citations retrieved from the search strategy, we included 14 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that met all inclusion criteria. Pairs of review authors assessed the methodological quality of the obtained studies using the Downs and Black checklist. A meta-analysis was performed on studies that measured comparable outcomes. The GRADE approach was used to determine the level of evidence for each outcome. Results In comparison with usual care or no care, Web-based interventions had a significant positive effect on empowerment measured with the Diabetes Empowerment Scale (2 studies, standardized mean difference [SMD] = 0.61, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.29 - 0.94]), on self-efficacy measured with disease-specific self-efficacy scales (9 studies, SMD = 0.23, 95% CI 0.12 - 0.33), and on mastery measured with the Pearlin Mastery Scale (1 study, mean difference [MD] = 2.95, 95% CI 1.66 - 4.24). No effects were found for self-efficacy measured with general self-efficacy scales (3 studies, SMD = 0.05, 95% CI -0.25 to 0.35) or for self-esteem measured with the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (1 study, MD = -0.38, 95% CI -2.45 to 1.69). Furthermore, when comparing Web-based interventions with face-to-face deliveries of the same interventions, no significant (beneficial or harmful) effects were found for mastery (1 study, MD = 1.20, 95% CI -1.73 to 4.13) and self-esteem (1 study, MD = -0.10, 95% CI -0.45 to 0.25). Conclusions Web-based interventions showed positive effects on empowerment measured with the Diabetes Empowerment Scale, disease-specific self-efficacy scales and the Pearlin Mastery Scale. Because of the low quality of evidence we found, the results should be interpreted with caution. The clinical relevance of the findings can be questioned because the significant effects we found were, in general, small.
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              Compulsive buying--a growing concern? An examination of gender, age, and endorsement of materialistic values as predictors.

               H Dittmar (2005)
              Compulsive buying is an understudied, but growing, dysfunctional consumer behaviour with harmful psychological and financial consequences. Clinical perspectives treat it as a psychiatric disorder, whereas recent proposals emphasize the increasing endorsement of materialistic values as a cause of uncontrolled buying (e.g. Dittmar, 2004b; Kasser & Kanner, 2004). The present research aims to improve understanding of compulsive buying through examining gender, age, and endorsement of materialistic values as key predictors in three UK questionnaire studies, which sampled individuals who had contacted a self-help organization and residentially matched 'controls' (N = 330), consumer panelists from a multinational corporation (N = 250), and 16- to 18-year-old adolescents (N = 195). The results confirmed previously documented gender differences, and showed that younger people are more prone to compulsive buying. The central findings were that materialistic value endorsement emerged as the strongest predictor of individuals' compulsive buying, and that it significantly mediated the observed age differences.

                Author and article information

                Journal of Behavioral Addictions
                J Behav Addict
                Akadémiai Kiadó (Budapest )
                17 September 2016
                September 2016
                : 5
                : 3
                : 379-394
                [ 1 ]Clinical Psychology Unit, The University of Sheffield , Sheffield, UK
                [ 2 ]Centre for Psychological Services Research, The University of Sheffield , Sheffield, UK, and Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust , Sheffield, UK
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author: Ben Hague; Clinical Psychology Unit, The University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK; Phone: +44 (0)114 222 6570; Fax: +44 (0)114 222 6610; E-mail: bhague1@
                © 2016 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium for non-commercial purposes, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Page count
                Figures: 4, Tables: 2, Equations: 0, References: 86, Pages: 16
                Funding sources: No financial support was received for this study.
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