Malls not just shrines of spending

Dec. 23, 2011 at 10:56 PM

PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- Members of dominant religions are more likely than others to undergo so-called consumption mass hysteria, a study of U.S. holiday shopping and religion found.

Study co-author by Ayalla Ruvio of Temple University Fox School of Business in Philadelphia says consumption mass hysteria leads to consequences of debt, drunkenness and overeating.

The study, published in the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, found holiday consumption in dominant religious groups -- such as Christians in the United States or Jews in Israel -- can lead to greater frenzy and a "social tidal wave" that pushes people to excess during the holidays.

"In effect, the marketplace, though normally viewed as profane and commercial, can, through the collective actions of religious devotees, be transformed into … a place of worship and fellowship," the study authors said in a statement.

The researchers conducted 41 in-depth, in-home interviews with Muslims, Jews and Christians in the United States, Israel and Tunisia to examine consumers' behavior when their given religion represents either a majority, minority or immigrant faith -- Christians are a U.S. religious majority, a minority in Israel and an immigrant religion in Tunisia.

The study found dominant religions tend to view religious holidays as a time of national or ethnic glory and "perfection," while minority and immigrant religions report a stronger desire to preserve their traditions and customs.

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