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J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2016 Feb;55(2):114-21.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.jaac.2015.11.014. Epub 2015 Dec 2.

Clinical Correlates of Hoarding With and Without Comorbid Obsessive-Compulsive Symptoms in a Community Pediatric Sample.

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Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada. Electronic address:
Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada; University of Toronto.
Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada; Dalla School of Public Health, University of Toronto.
Genetics Institute, University of Florida, Gainesville.
St. Joseph's Healthcare, Hamilton, ON, Canada, and McMaster University, Hamilton.
Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada; Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Toronto.
Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada; Mathison Centre for Mental Health Research and Education, The University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada.



We assessed the prevalence and clinical correlates of hoarding, with and without obsessive-compulsive (OC) symptoms, in a community-based pediatric sample.


We measured hoarding and OC symptoms using the Toronto Obsessive-Compulsive Scale (TOCS) in 16,718 youth aged 6 to 17 years in the community. We classified participants with high and low symptom counts for hoarding and OC into 4 groups: hoarding+OC; hoarding-only; OC-only; and control (no OC or hoarding symptoms). We compared these 4 groups on parent- or self-reported medical and psychiatric conditions, anxiety symptoms measured with the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms measured with the Strengths and Weaknesses of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Symptoms and Normal Behavior Scale (SWAN).


Almost 10% of participants were in the high hoarding group. Of these participants, 40% did not fall into the high OC group. The prevalence of reported psychiatric disorders (e.g., ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder) was greater in the hoarding (hoarding+OC and hoarding-only) and OC groups (hoarding+OC and OC-only) than in the nonhoarding (OC-only and control) and non-OC groups (hoarding-only and control), respectively. ADHD, specifically inattentive, symptoms were more common in the hoarding-only than in the OC-only group while anxiety symptoms were more common in the OC-only than in the hoarding-only group.


In a community pediatric sample, hoarding symptoms occurred in both the presence and absence of obsessive-compulsive symptoms. Hoarding symptoms alone had some unique clinical correlates, in particular, more inattentive ADHD symptoms and fewer anxiety symptoms. These findings suggest that hoarding is distinct from OC traits in youth.


attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder; child and adolescent; community sample; hoarding; obsessive-compulsive disorder

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