Psychopathology of Compulsive Hoarding (NIMH)

This is a collaborative project by Dr. Gail Steketee at Boston University, Dr. Randy Frost at Smith College, and Dr. David Tolin at Hartford Hospital. Funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, the project recruited people with hoarding problems, people with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and people from the community. Participants were recruited at Boston University and at Hartford Hospital for three studies.

The first study was an interview to help us learn more about hoarding problems, including personal and family histories and the relationship of hoarding to other psychological disorders like OCD, and to explore possible etiological features. This study also helped us refine our measures of hoarding symptoms and severity. The second aim was to investigate behavioral, emotional, and cognitive features of hoarding when people engage in actual discarding at home and in acquiring tasks in places that trigger their urges to acquire. We anticipate that analysis of our findings will improve the understanding of hoarding symptoms and the relationship of hoarding to OCD and other disorders, and will also provide a sound basis for refining treatment strategies.