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Neurocognitive functioning in compulsive buying disorder

Katherine L. Derbyshire, BS

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Samuel R. Chamberlain, MD, PhD

Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom, Cambridge and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT), Cambridge, United Kingdom

Brian L. Odlaug, MPH

Department of Public Health, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

Liana R. N. Schreiber, BA

Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Jon E. Grant, JD, MD, MPH

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA

BACKGROUND: Compulsive buying (CB) is a fairly common behavioral problem estimated to affect 5.8% of the population. Although previous research has examined the clinical characteristics of CB, little research has examined whether people with CB manifest cognitive deficits.

METHODS: Twenty-three non–treatment-seeking compulsive buyers (mean age, 22.3±3.5; 60.9% female) and 23 age- and sex-matched healthy controls (mean age, 21.1±3.4, 60.9% female) underwent neurocognitive assessment. We predicted that the following cognitive domains would be impaired in CB: spatial working memory (Spatial Working Memory test), response inhibition (Stop-Signal Task), cognitive flexibility (Intra-Extra Dimensional Set Shift task), and decision making (Cambridge Gambling Task).

RESULTS: Compared with controls, individuals with CB exhibited significant impairments in response inhibition (P=.043), risk adjustment during decision making (P=.010), and spatial working memory (P=.041 total errors; P=.044 strategy scores). Deficits were of large effect size (Cohen’s d, 0.6 to 1.05).

CONCLUSIONS: These pilot data suggest that individuals with CB experience problems in several distinct cognitive domains, supporting a likely neurobiological overlap between CB and other putative behavioral and substance addictions. These findings may have implications for shared treatment approaches as well as how we currently classify and understand CB.

KEYWORDS: compulsive, buying, neurocognition


CORRESPONDENCE: Katherine L. Derbyshire, BS Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience University of Chicago 5841 S. Maryland Avenue, MC 3077 Chicago, IL 60637 USA E-MAIL: kderbyshire@uchicago.edu
Annals of Clinical Psychiatry ©2014 Quadrant HealthCom Inc.

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