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Behav Res Ther. 1993 May;31(4):367-81.

The hoarding of possessions.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Smith College, Northampton, MA 01060.


Three studies of nonfood hoarding are reported. Findings support the reliability and validity of a Hoarding Scale. Furthermore, the findings indicate a number of features of hoarding behavior. Hoarding was associated with indecisiveness, perfectionism (especially maladaptive evaluative concern) and obsessive compulsive symptoms among college students and community volunteers. Hoarders tended to buy extra things in order not to be caught without a needed item, and they carried more 'just-in-case' items in purses, pockets and cars. Onset of hoarding was childhood and adolescence. Hoarders had more first degree relatives who engaged in excessive saving than nonhoarders, and hoarders were less likely to be married. There was no evidence to suggest that hoarding was related to material deprivation. A model was suggested which conceptualizes hoarding as an avoidance behavior tied to indecisiveness and perfectionism. Saving allows the hoarder to avoid the decision required to throw something away, and the worry which accompanies that decision (worry that a mistake has been made). Also, it allows hoarders to avoid emotional reactions which accompany parting with cherished possessions, and results in increased perception of control.

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