Send to

Choose Destination
J Anxiety Disord. 2011 Mar;25(2):192-202. doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2010.09.002. Epub 2010 Sep 15.

Stressful life events and material deprivation in hoarding disorder.

Author information

King's College London, Institute of Psychiatry, London, England, United Kingdom.


Traumatic life events and early material deprivation have been identified as potential environmental risk factors for the development of pathological hoarding behavior, but the evidence so far is preliminary and confounded by the presence of comorbid obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). This study retrospectively examined the occurrence of traumatic/stressful life events and material deprivation in four well-characterized groups: hoarding disorder without comorbid OCD (HD; n=24), hoarding disorder with comorbid OCD (HD+OCD; n=20), OCD without hoarding symptoms (OCD; n=17), and non-clinical controls (Control; n=20). Participants completed clinician and self-administered measures of hoarding, OCD, depression, psychological adjustment, and traumatic experience. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken to assess the temporal relation between traumatic/stressful life events and the onset and worsening of hoarding symptoms, and to determine the level of material deprivation. Although rates of post-traumatic stress disorder were comparable across all three clinical groups, hoarders (regardless of the presence of comorbid OCD) reported greater exposure to a range of traumatic and stressful life events compared to the two non-hoarding groups. Results remained unchanged after controlling for age, gender, education level, depression, and obsessive-compulsive symptoms. The total number of traumatic life events correlated significantly with the severity of hoarding but not of obsessive-compulsive symptoms. About half (52%) of hoarding individuals linked the onset of hoarding difficulties to stressful life circumstances, although this was significantly less common among those reporting early childhood onset of hoarding behavior. There was no link between levels of material deprivation and hoarding. Results support a link between trauma, life stress and hoarding, which may help to inform the conceptualization and treatment of hoarding disorder, but await confirmation in a representative epidemiological sample and using a longitudinal design.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center