The Impact of Shopping on Mental Health: The Connection

The impact of shopping on mental health has become an increasingly relevant topic in recent years. From compulsive buying disorder to the psychological effects of consumer culture, understanding the connection between shopping and mental well-being is crucial for individuals and society as a whole. For instance, consider the case study of Jennifer, a 35-year-old woman who finds solace in retail therapy whenever she feels stressed or anxious. By examining the underlying factors that contribute to this phenomenon, we can gain insight into how shopping habits affect mental health.

Consumerism plays a significant role in today’s society, with advertisements bombarding us at every turn and enticing us to indulge in materialistic desires. However, little attention has been given to the potential negative consequences of excessive shopping on individuals’ mental well-being. Research suggests that compulsive buying disorder (CBD) is more prevalent than previously thought, affecting approximately 5-8% of the general population. Furthermore, studies have shown that CBD is associated with various psychiatric disorders such as mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance abuse disorders, and eating disorders. Understanding these connections will allow us to develop strategies for prevention and intervention aimed at promoting healthier attitudes towards consumption and ultimately improving mental health outcomes for individuals affected by problematic shopping behaviors.

Understanding Retail Therapy

Retail therapy, the act of engaging in shopping as a means to improve one’s mood or emotional state, has become increasingly prevalent in today’s consumer-driven society. This phenomenon is often seen as a coping mechanism for individuals experiencing stress, anxiety, or other negative emotions. For instance, imagine someone who had a long and exhausting day at work. Instead of heading straight home, they decide to stop by their favorite store to browse through the latest fashion trends and perhaps make a purchase that will uplift their spirits.

To better comprehend the impact of retail therapy on mental health, it is crucial to explore its underlying mechanisms. Firstly, retail therapy provides an immediate distraction from life’s challenges and can offer temporary relief from emotional distress. The act of browsing through stores and trying on different items allows individuals to focus their attention on something enjoyable rather than dwelling on their problems. Additionally, making a purchase can create a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, boosting self-esteem levels.

Despite these potential benefits, it is important to recognize that retail therapy also has its limitations and risks. Excessive indulgence in shopping as a form of escapism may lead to financial strain or debt accumulation. Moreover, relying solely on material possessions for emotional fulfillment can be unsustainable in the long term. It is essential for individuals practicing retail therapy to strike a balance between enjoying the experience and maintaining healthy spending habits.

  • Temporary relief from negative emotions
  • Enhanced self-image due to new purchases
  • Potential financial strain if shopping becomes excessive
  • Unsustainable reliance on material possessions for happiness

Furthermore, let us examine this issue through the lens of a three-column table:

Positive Aspects Negative Aspects Risks
Immediate distraction Financial strain Accumulation of debt
Temporary relief Unsustainable reliance Impulsive buying
Sense of accomplishment on material possessions Diminished ability to cope with stress
Enhanced self-esteem levels

By acknowledging both the positive and negative aspects of retail therapy, a more comprehensive understanding can be gained. In the subsequent section, we will delve deeper into recognizing compulsive buying patterns, shedding light on potential underlying issues that may arise from excessive engagement in retail therapy.

Recognizing Compulsive Buying Patterns

Transitioning from our exploration of retail therapy, let us now delve into the importance of recognizing and understanding compulsive buying patterns. To illustrate the potential consequences that can arise from unchecked shopping habits, consider the hypothetical case of Sarah, a young professional who finds solace in frequent online purchases. Despite initially experiencing temporary relief and pleasure from her shopping sprees, Sarah begins to notice an increasing strain on her mental well-being.

Recognizing Compulsive Buying Patterns:

  1. Emotional Triggers: Individuals susceptible to compulsive buying often experience emotions such as stress, anxiety, or sadness as triggers prompting them to seek comfort through shopping.
  2. Temporary Relief: Engaging in impulsive purchases may provide momentary alleviation of negative emotions; however, this relief is often short-lived and leads to feelings of guilt or regret later on.
  3. Financial Strain: As compulsive buying persists over time, individuals may find themselves facing significant financial difficulties due to excessive spending beyond their means.
  4. Decline in Overall Well-being: The constant cycle of emotional distress followed by remorse can have detrimental effects on one’s overall mental health, leading to increased levels of depression, anxiety, and decreased self-esteem.

The following table provides a visual representation of some common signs associated with compulsive buying:

Signs of Compulsive Buying
Frequent impulse purchases
Inability to resist sales or discounts
Accumulation of unopened items
Concealing purchases from others

It is crucial for both individuals struggling with compulsive buying tendencies and those around them to recognize these warning signs early on. By doing so, it becomes possible to seek appropriate interventions and support systems aimed at breaking free from this harmful behavior pattern.

Transitioning seamlessly into our subsequent discussion about the dangers of impulsive buying, it is important to understand that Recognizing Compulsive Buying Patterns is just the first step towards addressing this issue.

The Dangers of Impulsive Buying

Recognizing Compulsive Buying Patterns: The Hidden Traps

For individuals struggling with compulsive buying patterns, the allure of shopping can be overwhelming. Take Jane, for example, a 35-year-old marketing executive who finds herself constantly searching for that next purchase to satisfy her emotional needs. Whether it’s clothes, gadgets, or home decor items, Jane feels a temporary sense of happiness and relief when she indulges in these impulsive purchases. However, this pleasure is often short-lived and replaced by feelings of guilt and regret.

Compulsive buying is characterized by an irresistible urge to shop excessively and uncontrollably, leading to adverse consequences on mental health. It goes beyond occasional splurges or retail therapy sessions; instead, it becomes a repetitive behavior that interferes with daily life functioning. To better understand this phenomenon, let us delve into some common signs and symptoms associated with compulsive buying:

  1. Preoccupation with Shopping: Individuals experiencing compulsive buying tend to obsessively think about shopping throughout the day. This preoccupation may manifest as constant online browsing or frequent trips to various stores.

  2. Emotional Triggers: Compulsive buyers often use shopping as a means to cope with negative emotions such as stress, sadness, or boredom. These individuals seek temporary relief through purchasing goods but later experience increased levels of anxiety due to financial strain.

  3. Financial Consequences: Excessive spending can quickly lead to financial distress for those caught in the cycle of compulsive buying. Mounting debts and strained relationships are commonly observed outcomes of this destructive pattern.

  4. Feelings of Guilt and Shame: Despite the initial excitement from making a purchase, compulsive shoppers frequently experience intense feelings of guilt and shame afterward. This internal conflict further contributes to their deteriorating mental well-being.

To grasp the severity of this issue at hand, consider the following table showcasing potential consequences associated with compulsive buying:

Potential Consequences
Financial instability
Decline in overall well-being

As we explore the dangers of impulsive buying, it is crucial to acknowledge the detrimental impact that compulsive shopping can have on an individual’s mental health. From financial distress to strained relationships, recognizing these patterns is vital for effective intervention and support. In our next section, we will delve into how emotional spending serves as a coping mechanism for individuals struggling with their mental well-being.

Emotional Spending: A Coping Mechanism

Impulse buying can have detrimental effects on both an individual’s mental health and overall financial well-being. This section explores the connection between impulsive buying behaviors and their impact on mental health.

To illustrate this, let’s consider a hypothetical case study. Sarah, a young professional in her late twenties, often finds herself succumbing to impulsive shopping sprees. Whenever she feels stressed or unhappy, she turns to online retailers as a coping mechanism. However, these purchases provide only temporary relief, leading to feelings of guilt and regret later on.

One major consequence of impulsive buying is increased levels of anxiety and stress. Individuals who engage in frequent impulse purchases may find themselves caught in a cycle where they constantly worry about their finances or struggle with mounting debt. Financial instability combined with the guilt associated with frivolous spending creates an emotional burden that can lead to chronic stress.

Furthermore, impulsive buying has been linked to low self-esteem and diminished self-worth. When individuals rely on material possessions for validation or as a means to improve their mood, it reinforces the notion that their worth is tied solely to what they own rather than inherent qualities or achievements. This constant need for external validation can erode one’s sense of self and contribute to feelings of emptiness or inadequacy.

Consider the following list as examples of how impulsive buying negatively impacts mental health:

  • Increased levels of anxiety and stress
  • Diminished self-esteem and self-worth
  • Emotional turmoil due to guilt and remorse
  • Strained relationships caused by financial strain
Impact Description
Anxiety Frequent impulse buying leads to heightened anxiousness over financial matters
Self-Esteem Reliance on material possessions undermines confidence in personal identity
Guilt Remorse from unnecessary purchases generates emotional distress
Relationship Strain Financial strain caused by impulsive buying can strain personal relationships

In light of these findings, it is evident that impulsive buying poses a significant risk to an individual’s mental well-being. Consequently, understanding and addressing the underlying factors contributing to this behavior becomes crucial in promoting healthier shopping habits.

Transitioning into the subsequent section about “The Psychological Effects of Hoarding,” it is essential to recognize how excessive acquisition through impulsive buying can manifest in various forms, including hoarding tendencies. By exploring the psychological effects of hoarding, we gain further insight into the complex relationship between shopping behaviors and mental health.

The Psychological Effects of Hoarding

Section: The Psychological Effects of Hoarding

Hoarding, a compulsive behavior characterized by the excessive acquisition and retention of items, has gained increased attention in recent years due to its significant impact on mental health. This section delves into the psychological effects of hoarding, highlighting its detrimental consequences and shedding light on the complexities surrounding this disorder.

To illustrate these effects, let us consider the hypothetical case study of Jane. Over time, Jane’s home became overwhelmed with various possessions that she found difficult to discard. Her once-spacious living area gradually transformed into narrow pathways surrounded by stacks of newspapers, clothes, and other belongings. As her cluttered environment grew more chaotic, so did her emotional state. Feelings of distress and anxiety began to consume her as she struggled to maintain control over her growing accumulation of objects.

Numerous studies have identified several key psychological effects associated with hoarding:

  1. Emotional Distress: Individuals who engage in hoarding often experience heightened levels of stress, anxiety, and depression due to their inability to manage their possessions effectively.
  2. Impaired Functioning: Hoarding can impair an individual’s ability to carry out daily activities such as cooking or cleaning due to limited space caused by clutter.
  3. Social Isolation: The accumulation of excessive belongings may lead individuals to withdraw from social interactions for fear of judgment or embarrassment regarding their living conditions.
  4. Attachment Issues: Some individuals develop strong emotional attachments to their possessions, viewing them as extensions of themselves or sources of comfort and security.

To further understand the multifaceted nature of hoarding and its impacts on mental well-being, we can examine the following table:

Psychological Effects Description
Emotional Distress Elevated feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression resulting from overwhelming clutter
Impaired Functioning Difficulty performing daily tasks due to restricted movement within living spaces
Social Isolation Withdrawal from social interactions due to shame or embarrassment
Attachment Issues Strong emotional connections and reliance on possessions for comfort and security

The psychological effects of hoarding emphasize the importance of addressing this disorder with empathy, understanding, and appropriate interventions. By recognizing the complexities surrounding hoarding behavior, researchers and mental health professionals can work towards developing effective strategies to support individuals struggling with this condition.

Transitioning into the subsequent section about “Unraveling the Cycle of Shopping Addiction,” we begin to uncover how these two phenomena intertwine, shedding light on possible underlying causes and potential avenues for intervention.

Unraveling the Cycle of Shopping Addiction

The Psychological Effects of Hoarding: A Case Study

Consider the hypothetical case of Sarah, a 45-year-old woman who has been struggling with hoarding for several years. Her home is filled with stacks of newspapers, old clothing, and various items she feels an emotional attachment to. As her hoarding behavior intensifies, Sarah finds herself experiencing significant psychological effects that impact her mental health.

The connection between hoarding and mental health can be better understood through examining its consequences. Here are some key factors:

  1. Anxiety: Hoarders often experience extreme anxiety when faced with the prospect of discarding their possessions. This anxiety stems from a fear of losing something valuable or meaningful, leading to a heightened sense of distress.
  2. Social Isolation: Due to the cluttered and chaotic living conditions associated with hoarding, individuals may become socially isolated as they feel ashamed or embarrassed about inviting others into their homes.
  3. Depression: Living in cluttered environments can contribute to feelings of hopelessness and low self-esteem, which can manifest as symptoms of depression over time.
  4. Impaired Functioning: Hoarders often struggle with daily activities such as cleaning, cooking, or even navigating their own living spaces due to excessive clutter. This impairment in functioning adds further strain on their overall well-being.

To illustrate these psychological effects further:

Psychological Effect Impact
Anxiety Extreme stress levels leading to panic attacks and difficulty making decisions
Social Isolation Feelings of shame and embarrassment resulting in limited social interactions
Depression Persistent sadness, loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed
Impaired Functioning Inability to maintain a clean and organized living environment

Understanding the psychological toll that hoarding takes on individuals like Sarah highlights the urgent need for intervention and support systems aimed at addressing this issue effectively.

Transitioning into the next section, we will now explore the Link between shopping and mental health, further unraveling the complex relationship between consumerism and psychological well-being.

Exploring the Link Between Shopping and Mental Health

Unraveling the Cycle of Shopping Addiction has shed light on the intricate web of factors that contribute to this phenomenon. Now, we delve deeper into understanding the link between shopping and mental health, aiming to explore its impact from a holistic perspective.

To illustrate this connection, let’s consider the case of Emma, a young professional with a thriving career. Over time, Emma developed an intense desire for new clothes and accessories. Initially, her purchases brought momentary joy and excitement. However, as she continued indulging in retail therapy excessively, Emma noticed feelings of guilt and anxiety creeping in after each shopping spree. These negative emotions began to affect her overall well-being and started interfering with her daily life.

The emotional toll experienced by individuals like Emma highlights the significance of addressing The Impact of Shopping on mental health. Research suggests several ways in which excessive shopping can influence our psychological state:

  1. Escapism: For some individuals, compulsive buying serves as an escape mechanism from stress or underlying emotional issues.
  2. Self-esteem boost: Acquiring material possessions can temporarily enhance one’s self-worth and provide a sense of accomplishment.
  3. Emotional regulation: Shopping is often used as a means to regulate mood swings or relieve boredom.
  4. Financial distress: Accumulating debt due to impulsive buying can lead to financial strain, causing heightened levels of anxiety and depression.
Impact of Excessive Shopping on Mental Health
Increased stress levels
Feelings of guilt and shame
Anxiety related to financial instability
Potential development or exacerbation of addiction

This table illustrates just a few consequences that may arise when someone develops an unhealthy attachment to shopping. It is crucial that we recognize these effects as they have far-reaching implications for individuals’ mental well-being.

Understanding how shopping affects mental health lays the foundation for developing effective intervention strategies aimed at mitigating potential harm. In the subsequent section, we will explore the role of consumerism in mental well-being and delve into ways to promote a healthier relationship with shopping. By addressing this issue comprehensively, we can work towards fostering a society that prioritizes holistic wellness over material accumulation.

The Role of Consumerism in Mental Well-being

The impact of shopping on mental health is a subject that has garnered increasing attention in recent years. Numerous studies have been conducted to examine the potential connection between these two aspects of human life. For instance, let’s consider a hypothetical case study involving Emma, a 35-year-old woman who often finds herself engaging in excessive shopping as a means to cope with stress and emotional turmoil.

One key aspect worth exploring is how consumerism can affect individuals’ overall mental well-being. It is essential to understand the various factors at play when it comes to this complex relationship. Firstly, materialistic values promoted by society may contribute to an individual’s propensity for using shopping as a coping mechanism. Secondly, social comparison theory suggests that people tend to compare themselves with others based on their possessions, leading to feelings of inadequacy or envy. Moreover, retail therapy (the act of purchasing items to alleviate negative emotions) provides temporary relief but does not address underlying psychological issues.

  • The excitement experienced during the initial stages of acquiring new possessions can create a fleeting sense of happiness.
  • Overspending beyond one’s financial means can lead to significant debt, causing immense anxiety.
  • The constant pursuit of material possessions may result in diminished satisfaction and perpetuate a cycle of seeking more.
  • Impulsive buying decisions driven by emotional distress may provide momentary relief but fail to address deeper-rooted problems.

Now let us delve into a table summarizing some common effects associated with shopping and mental health:

Effect Description Emotional Response
Financial Stress Accumulating debts due to compulsive spending Anxiety, worry
Reduced Happiness Diminished satisfaction despite frequent purchases Disappointment
Comparison Envy Feeling inadequate or resentful when comparing possessions with others Jealousy, dissatisfaction
Emotional Dependence Relying on shopping as a primary coping mechanism for emotional distress Temporary relief, long-term issues

Understanding the intricate relationship between shopping and mental health is crucial in addressing potential negative consequences. By acknowledging the impact of consumerism on well-being, individuals can take proactive steps to maintain a healthier balance in their lives.

Transitioning into the subsequent section about “Addressing the Dark Side of Retail Therapy,” it becomes evident that identifying these harmful effects prompts society to explore ways to mitigate them effectively.

Addressing the Dark Side of Retail Therapy

Consumerism plays a significant role in shaping an individual’s mental well-being. It is important to understand the impact of shopping on mental health, as excessive consumption can have both positive and negative consequences. One case study that exemplifies this connection involves Sarah, a young professional who finds solace in retail therapy after a stressful day at work.

Sarah often turns to shopping as a means of stress relief, believing that buying new clothes or accessories will make her feel better. This temporary boost in mood gives her a sense of control and alleviates anxiety momentarily. However, it also leads to feelings of guilt and regret afterwards, when she realizes the financial strain caused by impulsive purchases. In turn, this cycle perpetuates negative emotions and increases overall distress levels.

To delve deeper into the relationship between shopping and mental health, consider the following bullet points:

  • Emotional Regulation: Shopping may serve as a coping mechanism for individuals struggling with emotional regulation difficulties.
  • Social Comparison: The constant exposure to social media platforms showcasing idealized lifestyles can contribute to feelings of inadequacy and fuel excessive consumer behavior.
  • Materialistic Values: Prioritizing material possessions over personal relationships and experiences has been linked to decreased subjective well-being.
  • Debt Accumulation: Impulsive buying habits often lead to accumulating debt, which adds financial stressors and further impacts mental health.

Table 1 illustrates some potential effects of excessive consumerism on various aspects of mental well-being:

Aspect Potential Effect
Self-esteem Temporary boost but long-term decrease
Anxiety Momentary relief followed by increased distress
Depression Escalation due to guilt/regret
Financial Stress Heightened burden resulting from impulsive spending

Understanding these potential outcomes sheds light on the complex relationship between shopping behaviors and mental well-being. Consequently, it becomes crucial to address the dark side of retail therapy and explore ways individuals can break free from compulsive buying habits.

Breaking Free from Compulsive Buying Habits

The Impact of Shopping on Mental Health: The Connection

Addressing the Dark Side of Retail Therapy, we have observed how excessive shopping can negatively affect mental health. Now, let us delve deeper into breaking free from compulsive buying habits and explore potential strategies to overcome this detrimental behavior.

Consider the case of Anna, a 34-year-old woman who finds solace in retail therapy whenever she feels stressed or anxious. She often spends hours browsing online stores and making impulsive purchases to momentarily alleviate her emotional distress. However, this temporary relief is quickly replaced by feelings of guilt and regret as she realizes the financial strain these impulse buys place on her budget. Anna’s story is just one example that highlights the complex relationship between shopping and mental well-being.

To understand how consumers like Anna can break free from compulsive buying habits, it is crucial to acknowledge some key factors contributing to such behaviors:

  1. Emotional Triggers: Negative emotions such as stress, sadness, or boredom can act as powerful catalysts for excessive spending.
  2. Advertising influence: Constant exposure to advertisements promoting material possessions can create an insatiable desire for consumer goods.
  3. Social comparison: The urge to keep up with others’ lifestyles and appearances drives individuals towards unnecessary purchases.
  4. Lack of self-control: Impaired self-regulation skills make it difficult for individuals to resist temptations associated with shopping.

These factors intertwine, creating a perfect storm that perpetuates compulsive buying habits among susceptible individuals. To illustrate their impact further, consider the following table showcasing common emotional triggers experienced by those prone to excessive spending:

Emotional Trigger Description
Stress Escaping from overwhelming pressures through impulsive purchasing decisions
Loneliness Seeking comfort in material possessions as substitutes for social connections
Low Self-Esteem Using shopping as a means to boost confidence temporarily but leading to long-term dissatisfaction
Anxiety Attempting to regain a sense of control by accumulating possessions

In breaking free from the cycle of excessive spending, individuals must recognize and address these emotional triggers. By developing healthier coping mechanisms and adopting mindful consumption practices, they can regain control over their shopping habits.

Transitioning into the subsequent section about “Overcoming Emotional Triggers for Excessive Spending,” it is essential to explore practical steps that individuals can take to reduce their susceptibility to compulsive buying behaviors.

Overcoming Emotional Triggers for Excessive Spending

Breaking free from compulsive buying habits can be a challenging endeavor, but it is essential for individuals seeking to improve their mental health. One such case involved Sarah, a 35-year-old woman who found herself trapped in a cycle of excessive shopping. Despite her mounting debts and cluttered living space, she struggled to resist the urge to purchase items she did not need.

To overcome emotional triggers for excessive spending, it is crucial to understand the underlying factors that contribute to this behavior. Several common triggers include stress, low self-esteem, boredom, and social pressures. These triggers often lead individuals like Sarah into a pattern of using shopping as a coping mechanism or an attempt to fill emotional voids.

Understanding these triggers allows individuals to develop strategies for managing them effectively. Here are some suggestions:

  • Practice mindfulness: By cultivating awareness of one’s emotions and thoughts during moments of temptation, individuals can interrupt impulsive behaviors.
  • Seek healthier alternatives: Encouraging activities such as exercise, hobbies, or engaging with supportive friends can provide alternative outlets for stress relief.
  • Create a budget: Developing a realistic financial plan helps curb impulsive buying by promoting mindful spending habits.
  • Limit exposure to marketing stimuli: Unsubscribe from promotional emails and avoid unnecessary visits to malls or online shopping platforms.
Trigger Emotional Response Possible Solutions
Stress Anxiety and restlessness Engage in relaxation techniques
Low self-esteem Inadequacy and insecurity Seek professional counseling
Boredom Restlessness and dissatisfaction Discover new hobbies or interests
Social pressures Fear of missing out (FOMO) Set boundaries and prioritize personal needs

In conclusion, breaking free from compulsive buying habits requires recognizing emotional triggers that fuel excessive spending. Through mindfulness practices, seeking healthier alternatives, creating budgets, and limiting exposure to marketing stimuli, individuals can regain control over their shopping habits and improve their mental well-being.

Transitioning into the subsequent section about seeking help for hoarding and shopping addiction, it is important to understand that overcoming these challenges often requires professional guidance.

Seeking Help for Hoarding and Shopping Addiction

Understanding the emotional triggers associated with excessive spending is crucial in comprehending the impact shopping can have on mental health. By exploring strategies to overcome these triggers, individuals can gain better control over their shopping habits and ultimately improve their overall well-being.


Seeking Help for Hoarding and Shopping Addiction
While many people may experience occasional impulsive buying tendencies or engage in retail therapy as a means of temporary stress relief, some individuals struggle with more severe forms of shopping addiction. One hypothetical example is Sarah*, an individual consumed by compulsive buying behaviors that negatively impacted her daily life. Sarah would frequently spend beyond her means, accumulating items she did not need nor use but found solace momentarily through acquiring new possessions.

The consequences of hoarding and shopping addiction are far-reaching, affecting both mental and physical health. Individuals grappling with these challenges often face financial burdens, strained relationships, social isolation, and increased levels of anxiety and depression. To shed light on this issue’s gravity, consider the following bullet points:

  • Increased risk of debt accumulation.
  • Difficulty maintaining organized living spaces due to clutter.
  • Strained relationships with loved ones stemming from conflicts around finances and space management.
  • Elevated levels of stress resulting from feelings of guilt and shame.

To further highlight the detrimental effects of hoarding and shopping addiction, let us examine a three-column table showcasing various aspects related to these conditions:

Aspects Effects Consequences
Financial Accumulated debt Limited resources
Psychological Feelings of guilt and shame Low self-esteem
Social Isolation Strained interpersonal bonds
Physical Cluttered living spaces Poor quality of life

Recognizing the severe impact of hoarding and shopping addiction, it becomes evident that seeking professional help is essential. Mental health professionals equipped with specialized knowledge in these areas can provide guidance tailored to individual circumstances. Therapy sessions, support groups, and cognitive-behavioral techniques are some effective approaches employed to address underlying emotional triggers, develop coping mechanisms, and ultimately facilitate recovery.

In conclusion,
Acknowledging the connection between mental health and excessive shopping behaviors allows individuals to seek appropriate assistance for overcoming hoarding tendencies or shopping addiction. By addressing these issues head-on through therapy and support systems, individuals can regain control over their lives, improve their mental well-being, and foster healthier relationships within their communities.

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