Exploration of the beliefs that drive and maintain hoarding in young adults

Lauren Smith is a trainee Clinical Psychologist at Newcastle University and together with her colleagues Dr Claire Lomax and Rowan Tinlin at Newcastle University she is carrying out research on hoarding in young adults.

She is interested in the value that young adults with hoarding place on objects – what makes the items important to keep? This research project will help with understanding hoarding disorder and the current treatments that are available.

There are two parts to the study – the first part asks questions about your hoarding, and thoughts and feelings, and the second part takes you to a different website to complete a card sorting task about what your objects mean to you. The average time for completing the task is around 40-50 minutes.

There is a ‘prize draw’ once the study is no longer active – there will be several £20 and £30 Amazon vouchers up for grabs.

Why is this study being done?

Hoarding disorder (HD) is a mental health condition which is defined as the excessive acquisition of items, holding and engaging with items, and the inability to discard vast quantities of possessions. We know that this causes a lot of distress for individuals who have difficulties with hoarding and that it can impact on many aspects of their life. The average age that people begin to hoard is around 16 years old and there are many different hypotheses about why individual’s hoard. Previous research suggests that there are a lot of possible motives driving hoarding behaviour and that these can be different for different individuals. It is important to understand more about the variation in hoarding behaviour as recovery outcomes for hoarding disorder treatment (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) are relatively poor. It has been suggested that different treatments are needed to target the different psychological mechanisms involved in hoarding, and this research hopes to shed light on this and make recommendations in relation to the assessment, understanding and treatment of hoarding disorder.

This study will help us gain a better understanding of what drives and maintains hoarding behaviour, so we can use these perspectives to develop a framework of hoarding.

What will I be doing if I decide to take part?

You will be asked to consent to taking part, and then answer some questions about yourself; for example, you age and whether you have received treatment before. You can opt out of answering these if you feel uncomfortable at any point. You will be asked to complete a few questionnaires and then you will be redirected to the Q-sort task. You will be asked to sort a set of statements based on how relevant you think they are to hoarding disorder (a full definition of hoarding disorder will be provided for you). When you make a decision about each statement you will also be able to type in any additional information you think is relevant to the decision you made. Once you have completed the Q-sort task you will be directed to the debriefing page which provides you with more information about the study and with contact details or resources should you need them.

I am interested in participating, what should I do now?

If you would like to take part in the study please read the attached Information Sheet for more information and, if you are happy to proceed, click on the link below.