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Wednesday, December 2, 1998 Published at 15:08 GMT


Christmas shopping is bad for men

Christmas shopping is bad for men's health, apparently

Christmas shopping raises men's stress levels to those experienced by fighter pilots and riot police, according to a psychologist.

'If men buy golf clubs or a car, their stress mysteriously seems to disappear'
Dr David Lewis was commissioned by a London shopping centre to monitor heart rates, blood pressure and stress hormones in male shoppers.

He found the results showed that men's stress levels went through the roof at the prospect of buying presents, while only one in four women even registered a slight change.

[ image: Stress levels as high as fighter pilots]
Stress levels as high as fighter pilots
He said: "I was personally surprised to find that men are so much more stressed out by shopping than women are.

"And I was surprised by the very high levels of stress we found amongst the men.

"We were looking at blood pressure and heart rates and the secretion of stress hormones really in some cases at a level we might expect to find in a combat pilot or a riot policeman in action.

Dr David Lewis: "Men like shopping if they are buying toys for boys"
"They were very heavily stressed by the shopping experience."

He said that men enjoyed shopping as long as it was to buy "toys for boys" including hi-fis and computers.

And it was down to lack of experience, he felt, that men found consumerism such a daunting prospect.

He said: "Men do not do it very often. Women are still the major shoppers for things like food and cleaning materials."

Meanwhile, managers at Brent Shopping Centre, who commissioned the report, have introduced a personalised shopping service.

To take the stress out of purchasing, shoppers can pay someone else to do it for them - and then carry all the bags to their car.

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