How the Election Stress Affects your Spending Habits According to Research


Nearly half of the Americans said that the 2016 Election has been a source of a major stress in their lives and this stress can have a varied effect on different people from causing overeating, to triggering sleeplessness and decreasing your ability to be productive. While most people believe that stress can also be a contributing factor to splurging and overspending, research suggests that it's actually the other way around.

According to a study published in October in the Journal of Marketing Research, your worries and anxiety can actually help you limit your spending and save money. When a person is faced with a stressful situation, he is more likely to focus on spending for the things he deems as necessities, those that he thinks he needs and not his wants. This is because this reaction to stress gives the person the sense of being in control.

This is explained by the rising of your body's levels of the stress hormone called cortisol when you are faced with stress. When this happens, your body tends to go into survival mode, also known as, "fight or flight". This gives your body the ability to focus on the things that you need to do in order to restore your sense of control.

According to Kristina Durante, a marketing professor at Rutgers Business School who researches the effect of hormones and consumer behavior, the type of stress that a person is facing helps him determine which products or items can be considered as necessities.

"For example, stress related to starting a new job led consumers to feel that expensive clothes were a necessary expenditure because it gave them a greater sense of control of the stress." She said.

While stress may cause some people to do impulse buying when they are under stress, Durante said more research are needed is needed to understand why people choose to spend less under stress.

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