PREVALENCE OF INTERNET ADDICTION, SHOPPING
ADDICTION AND BULIMIA IN DEPRESSIVE ADULTS
Paromita Mitra Bhaumik1, Rajeswaree Basu2, Debangana Bhattacharya3
1HOD Department of Clinical Psychology, George Group of Colleges (Makaut), Consultant Psychologist with
EEDF Medicare and Anubhav Positive Psychology
2Assistant Professor, Department of Clinical Psychology, George Group of Colleges (Makaut), Consultant
Psychologist with Clinics, Kolkata
3Ph.D Research Scholar, Amity University, Kolkata.
Teaching Faculty, Department of Clinical Psychology, George group of colleges, kolkata.
Internet addiction, shopping addiction and bulimia has been found to affect
neurological, psychological and social network adversely in many cases. The present
study aims at drawing a comparison between depressive and non-depressive adults
with respect to internet addiction, shopping addiction and bulimic behavior. 30 adults
diagnosed with clinical depression and 30 non- depressive adults were assessed on
the Internet Addiction Scale, Bergen’s Shopping Addiction Scale and the Eating
Disorder Diagnostic Scale to fulfill the aims of the study. The results revealed a
significant difference between the study group and the control group with respect to
internet addiction. High levels of depression have been seen to correlate with increase
in internet addiction and shopping addiction. The findings also indicate individuals
diagnosed with clinical depression and having high levels of shopping addiction, have
a tendency to overeat as compared to those not diagnosed with depression.
Keywords- internet addiction, bulimia, shopping addiction, depression
Excessive or poorly controlled preoccupations, impulses, or behaviors related to
computer use and internet access that cause impairment or suffering are referred to
as internet addiction. Internet addiction has been linked to dimensionally evaluated
depression as well as social isolation markers. Mood, anxiety, impulse control, and
drug use problems are all prevalent psychiatric co-morbidities. Activities involved in
higher level of internet use usually includes online gaming, scrolling through social
media, online shopping and others. Having an occasional buying spree is not the same
as having a shopping addiction. Overspending or over shopping can happen to
everyone, but shopping addiction is defined by a strong desire to buy or pursue
consumer items. People with shopping addiction utilize shopping as a coping method
to regulate their emotions, gaining pleasure or comfort as a result of their purchases.
Those who are hooked to shopping will frequently spend more than they can afford,
experience post-purchase remorse, and then shop even more to make themselves
feel better, creating a vicious cycle. Shopping addiction has been associated to
depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders, as well as financial hardship, a sense
of loss of control, and conflict with friends and family. Shopping and purchasing
products compulsively may stem from similar impulsive tendencies, and the
exhilaration or numbing impact of binge and purging with bulimia may be mirrored by
this behavior. As a result, it's not unusual for other mental diseases or behavioral
disorders to coexist with an eating issue. Bulimia is a psychiatric disorder
characterized by binge eating followed by purging. In this one loses the control over
one’s eating and continues to binge until one feels the urge to purge. Depressive
symptoms (such as low self-esteem) and depressive disorders are more common in
people with bulimia nervosa. Many patients experience mood disturbances
concurrently with or following the onset of their eating problem, although some
experience mood disturbances prior to the onset of bulimia nervosa.
Young and Rogers conducted a study in 2009 to determine the relationship between
depression and internet addiction. Significant levels of depression were linked to
pathological Internet use, according to the findings of the study. When a basic
psychiatric disease is linked to a subsequent impulse control problem, such as
pathological Internet use, this article describes how a therapy plan should emphasize
the initial psychiatric condition.
Binge eating, weight concern, and weight change were all much higher among internet
addicts than among controls. (Tao, 2013) Depression was discovered to be a partial
mediator in the link between Internet addiction and bulimia in all of the participants.
The findings back up prior research that found that problematic Internet use was
significantly and positively linked to eating disorder behaviors.(Mahmid, Bdier, Chou ,
Shopping addiction has been seen to correlate with anxiety, depression and hoarding
behavior (Lawrence, Ciorciari and Kyrios, 2014). Self-efficacy and depressive
symptoms were found to partially mediate the connection between life stress and
impulsive shopping in a multiple-mediation model. Life stress influenced compulsive
shopping in both direct and indirect ways. (Koh, Tang, Gan, Kwon, 2020)
1. To assess the level of internet addiction among depressive and non-depressive
2. To assess the level of shopping addiction among depressive and non-
3. To assess the presence of Bulimia in depressive and non-depressive adults.
1. There is no significant difference between depressive and non-depressive
adults with respect to internet addiction.
2. There is no significant difference between depressive and non-depressive
adults with respect to shopping addiction.
3. There is no significant difference between depressive and non-depressive
adults with respect to presence of Bulimia.
The sample comprised a total of 60 adults consisting of 30 adults from the
depressive (study group) and 30 adults from non-depressive (control group)
category. The age range was selected to be from 25 to 40 years. Screening of
depression was done by using Beck Depression Inventory. Other measures used
are given below:
1. Internet Addiction Test (IAT)- The first verified measure of Internet and
technology addiction was the Internet Addiction Test. The IAT is a self-
assessment tool for teenagers and adults. The development of a standardised
technique for detecting internet addiction symptoms in clinical and research
settings is a critical first step. The Internet Addiction Test is the most often used
tool among the available options (IAT). The IAT exhibits strong internal
consistency (= 0.90–0.93) and good test-retest reliability (r = 0.85) scores (7–
12), according to a preliminary investigation of its validity.
2. The Eating Disorder Diagnostic Scale (EDDS)- The Eating Disorder Diagnostic
Scale (EDDS; Stice, Telch, & Rizvi, 2000) is a 22-item self-report questionnaire
used to assess symptomatology of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and
binge-eating disorder using DSM-IV diagnostic criteria. A combination of Likert
ratings, dichotomous scores, behavioural frequency scores, and open-ended
questions about weight and height make up the measure. *This is a diagnostic
scale hence no mean and S.D. could be obtained from the scale.
3. The Bergen Shopping Addiction Scale (BSAS) – This scale consists of 28 item
that measures the level of addiction for shopping, in an individual. Higher scores
in the scale indicates higher level of shopping addiction.
4. Beck Depression Inventory- The Beck Depression Assessment (BDI) is a self-
report rating inventory with 21 items that assesses depression-related attitudes
and symptoms (Beck, et al., 1961). The BDI's internal consistency ranges
from.73 to.92, with a mean of.86. Beck, Steer, and Garbin (Beck, Steer, &
Garbin, 1988). The 13-item abbreviated form has been found to have similar
reliabilities (Groth-Marnat, 1990). With alpha coefficients of.86 and.81 for
psychiatric and non-psychiatric populations, the BDI has a high level of internal
consistency (Beck et al., 1988).
Table 1- For Internet Addiction
Table 2 – For Shopping Addiction
Table 3- For presence of bulimia
No. of adults having
An overall analysis of IAT, BSAS and EDDS reveals a significant difference between
the two groups of adults. The huge difference between the two groups with respect to
internet addiction suggests that depressive individuals are more prone to excessive
internet use. They have a tendency to always feel pre-occupied with internet and feel
the inability to resist themselves from using the internet. Few of the various activities
that they get engaged in, while online, are newsfeed scrolling in social media, online
gaming, checking e-mails, watching a great deal of videos and web series, and online
shopping. As indicated by the standard deviation, the difference between the two
groups with respect to shopping addiction is quite prominent. Individuals with
depression were reported to be shopping addicts as compared to those without
depression. They tend to get engaged in shopping behaviour in order to forget
personal problems. They feel an increasing inclination to buy things even if it had
caused them serious economic problems. Some of them have also reported of having
difficulty in falling and staying in sleep because of their shopping related worries. Like
the way individuals with depression have a difficulty to resist themselves from
excessive internet use and shopping, similarly they are also reported of having an
inability to resist themselves from eating. 70% of the individuals with depression are
also diagnosed with Bulimia as assessed by The Eating Disorder Diagnostic Scale.
On the contrary, only 30% of the adults who are otherwise not diagnosed with
depression, had Bulimia. Individuals diagnosed with depression experiences a loss of
control over their amount of intake of food and have a constant fear of gaining weight.
They feel disgusted and guilty about overeating but in no means can control
themselves from eating until they are uncomfortably full. Comparing all the three
parameters, it could be seen that prevalence of shopping addiction is the most in
depressive adults compared to non-depressive adults. Thus, people with depression
not only suffers from the adversities of low mood and anhedonia, but also are prone
to other impulse control issues like internet addiction, shopping addiction and Bulimia.
It can be concluded by stating that there is a significant difference between the two
groups which clearly reveals the prevalence of internet addiction, shopping addiction
and Bulimia in depressive adults as compared to those not diagnosed with depression.
They are reported of facing difficulty in controlling their impulses which in turn is
causing them severe impairments as stated in the study.
Larger sample could have been used in order to generalize the results and make the
study more fruitful.
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