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'Retail Therapy' Effective At Improving Mood, Study Finds

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 06/22/2011 11:58 am Updated: 08/22/2011 5:12 am

This just in: shopping, of all things, makes you happy.

The Daily Mail brought our attention to a study published in Psychology and Marketing, entitled "Retail therapy: A strategic effort to improve mood," which officially establishes what we've known for years.

From the abstract:

"Retail therapy" is often applied to the notion of trying to cheer oneself up through the purchase of self-treats. The negative moods that lead to retail therapy, however, have also been associated with greater impulsivity and a lack of behavioral control. Does this lead to mindless shopping when consumers are "down" and regret later? The current work documents that a bad mood does lead to greater purchase and consumption of unplanned treats for the self. However, it also provides evidence that the consumption of self-treats can be strategically motivated. Those individuals who do indulge can also exercise restraint if the goal of restraint also leads to improved mood. Finally, retail therapy has lasting positive impacts on mood. Feelings of regret and guilt are not associated with the unplanned purchases made to repair a bad mood.

What ends up in the bags? "Respondents bought clothing (26.1%), food (20.3%), electronics (17.4%), entertainment products (17.4%), accessories (e.g., jewelry and shoes) (12%), and other (e.g., household items) (6.8%) as treats," and they spent on average $59.18 to feel better about whatever's going on in their lives and $115.24 to celebrate an achievement.

The best part -- all this spending really did improve shoppers' moods: 82% were totally happy post-purchase and almost no one had buyer's remorse.

Which means that those self-medicating Sephora or H&M binges are totally acceptable. Encouraged, even. Don't you just love science?

To live vicariously through Angelina Jolie and experience bliss from a recent shopping spree of hers, check out this video:

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