Men As Likely As Women to Be Binge Shoppers

Oct. 2, 2006

-- MEN AND WOMEN EQUAL BINGE SHOPPERS Nearly as many men as women have "compulsive buying disorder," a condition in which people binge shop to the point of suffering financial hardship, and more than one in 20 people experience the disorder, according to new research from Stanford University. Researchers believe this is the first large-scale study in the United States aimed at determining how many people are compulsive buyers. Sufferers often rack up thousands of dollars in debt and lie to loved ones about their shopping. In a telephone survey of 2,513 adults, researchers found 6 percent of women and 5.5 percent of men had symptoms of compulsive buying disorder. Published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, the results also revealed that compulsive shoppers tended to be younger and earn less money than other respondents.

INTERNET HARASSMENT OF KIDS Around 9 percent of kids say they have been harassed on the Web in the last year, according to a new survey of 1,500 Internet users 10 to 17 years old published in Pediatrics. University of New Hampshire researchers found that about a third of kids who said they had been harassed said that the bullying was repeated, and approximately 25 percent said that they had offline contact with the harasser as well. The odds of being harassed increased for kids who admitted they had also harassed others.

TV HURTS KIDS' SCHOOL PERFORMANCE A new study of mostly white children in the northeastern United States finds that increased time watching TV on weekdays is associated with poorer performance in school. For example, kids who were not allowed to watch TV or movies on school days were about half as likely to say their grades were poor compared to kids whose viewing had no restrictions. Weekend TV viewing was not associated with school performance. In the study, more than 4,500 middle schoolers answered questions about their TV viewing habits and their grades. Other factors that were nearly equal or more powerful predictors of doing well in school include: being female, having two parents who graduated high school, and not needing a free school lunch, which indicates higher family income. This study was published in Pediatrics by researchers from Dartmouth University.

PARENT-VOICED FIRE ALARMS FOR KIDS A new study in Pediatrics shows that smoke alarms personalized with a parent's voice recording may be better at awakening kids than traditional smoke alarms. Ohio State University researchers tested 24 kids between ages 6 and 12 with two different alarms -- parent-voiced and traditional -- by waking them from deep sleep. Only one child did not wake up when the parent-voiced alarm played, compared to 10 kids who failed to wake up with the standard alarm.

STAT is a brief look at the latest medical research and is compiled by Joanna Schaffhausen, who holds a doctorate in behavioral neuroscience. She works in the ABC News Medical Unit, evaluating medical studies, abstracts and news releases.