An experimental examination of cognitive processes and response inhibition in patients seeking treatment for buying-shopping disorder

Vogel, Birte; Trotzke, Patrick ORCID; Steins-Loeber, Sabine; Schäfer, Giulia; Stenger, Jana; de Zwaan, Martina ORCID; Brand, Matthias; Müller, Astrid ORCID

There is an ongoing debate about whether buying-shopping disorder (BSD) should be acknowledged as a behavioral addiction. The current study investigated if mechanisms that play a prominent role in disorders due to substance use or addictive behaviors are relevant in BSD, particularly cue reactivity, craving, cognitive bias and reduced inhibitory control regarding addiction-relevant cues. The study included 39 treatment-seeking patients with BSD and 39 healthy control (HC) participants (29 women and 10 men in each group). Subjective responses toward buying/shopping-relevant visual cues were compared in patients vs. control participants. Experimental paradigms with neutral and semi-individualized buying/shopping-related pictures were administered to assess attentional bias, implicit associations and response inhibition with respect to different visual cues: Dot-probe paradigm (DPP), Implicit Association Task (IAT), Go/nogo-task (GNG). The severity of BSD, craving for buying/shopping, and symptoms of comorbid mental disorders (anxiety, depressive and hoarding disorders) were measured using standardized questionnaires. The BSD-group showed more general craving for buying/shopping, stronger subjective craving reactions towards buying/shopping-related visual cues, and more symptoms of anxiety, depression and hoarding disorder than control participants. Task performance in the DPP, IAT and GNG paradigm did not differ between the two groups. The present findings confirm previous research concerning the crucial role of craving in BSD. The assumption that attentional bias, implicit associations and deficient inhibitory control with respect to buying/shopping-related cues are relevant in BSD could not be proven. Future research should address methodological shortcomings and investigate the impact of acute psychosocial stress and present mood on craving responses, cognitive processing, and response inhibition in patients with BSD

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Vogel, Birte / Trotzke, Patrick / Steins-Loeber, Sabine / et al: An experimental examination of cognitive processes and response inhibition in patients seeking treatment for buying-shopping disorder. 2019.

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