Internet Addiction: Measurement and Relationship With Materialism and Compulsive Buying

Although most consumption activities in our modern society are desired and unproblematic, there seem to exist undesired side effects which have been described in literature as “the dark side of consumer behavior” (Mowen and Minor 2000). These effects include, e.g., materialism, compulsive buying, pathological gambling, and substance abuse. More recently, the excessive use of the Internet has been added to this list, and some authors (Griffiths 2000, Young 1996, 1998) suggest that individuals may become addicted to the Internet in a similar way as they become addicted to substance abuse or other forms of compulsive behavior. Despite the attention Internet addiction (IA) has received in the popular press and some journals specialized in psychology and behavior on the Internet, there are several measurement issues such as construct validity and reliability that have not been resolved satisfactorily yet. Further, it is not clear if IA constitutes a substitute for other compulsive behaviors such as compulsive buying (in this case, IA and compulsive buying would show a negative correlation), or if IA and other compulsive behaviors occur simultaneously and thus indicate comorbidity (indicated by a positive correlation between the constructs). Previous research has suggested comorbidity for the relationship between compulsive buying and binge eating (Faber et al. 1995), or the relationship between pathological gambling and cocaine-dependence (Hall et al. 2000). The study presented here aims to address the measurement problems mentioned above, and also hopes to contribute to the question how Internet addiction is related with two important consumer constructs of the “dark side,” materialism and compulsive buying.


Reto Felix (2006) ,"Internet Addiction: Measurement and Relationship With Materialism and Compulsive Buying", in LA - Latin American Advances in Consumer Research Volume 1, eds. Silvia Gonzalez and David Luna, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 87-88.


Reto Felix, University of Monterrey, Mexico


LA - Latin American Advances in Consumer Research Volume 1 | 2006

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