The Mediating Role of Credit Card Misuse on Collegiate Compulsive Buying: A Replication Study

Cynthia Dublin, Chang-Ok Choi*, G. Kevin Randall*, Bradley University

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AbstractThe average age at onset of compulsive buying is 18-24 years. This study replicates Palan, Morrow, Trapp, and Blackburn (2011) who investigated credit card misuse as a mediator between self-esteem, power prestige, and risk taking for compulsive buying behavior in undergraduate business majors. In addition to including all majors at Bradley and both sexes, we controlled for personality, a known covariate for credit card misuse and compulsive buying.

After IRB approval, a convenience sample of 200 Bradley students, representing each of the five colleges, filled out a 41-item questionnaire assessing demographics and the study variables. Based on the mediation model tested by Palan and colleagues, we first correlated all study variables and then tested the model without and with the control variables, gender and personality, using partial correlations and path analysis.

Bivariate, partial correlations were different from the Palan et al. study, although the path model was replicated. For example, self-esteem and credit card misuse were associated (r = -.17, p =.05); however, when we controlled for personality and gender, the relationship was attenuated and non-significant (r = -.12, p = .19). Controlling for personality and gender in the path model completely eliminated the influence of self-esteem.
Including all majors, men, and women differentiated our findings from Palan et al. (2011). The influence of personality and other individual factors on compulsive buying and credit card misuse are discussed. In addition, suggestions for financial education are included.

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