The cognitive–behavioural model of hoarding disorder: Evidence from clinical and non-clinical cohorts

Michael Kyrios*, Christopher Mogan, Richard Moulding, Randy O. Frost, Keong Yap, Daniel B. Fassnacht

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    45 Citations (Scopus)


    The cognitive–behavioural model of hoarding disorder incorporates information processing difficulties, maladaptive attachment to possessions, erroneous beliefs about the nature of possessions, and mood problems as etiologically significant factors, although developmental experiences such as a compromised early family environment have also been proposed in an augmented model. This study examined the specificity and relevance of variables highlighted in the augmented cognitive–behavioural model. Various clinical participants (n = 89) and community controls (n = 20) were assessed with structured clinical interviews to verify diagnosis. Participants completed self-report measures of hoarding severity, cognitions, meta-memory, and early developmental experiences (e.g., memories of warmth and security in one's family). Hoarding cohorts (with and without obsessive–compulsive disorder) reported poor confidence in memory, but relative to other groups (obsessive–compulsive disorder without hoarding disorder, anxiety disorders, and healthy controls), hoarding-relevant cognitions, need to keep possessions in view, and concerns about the consequences of forgetting were significantly higher. Hoarding groups reported the lowest recollections of warmth in their family, although no differences were found between hoarding and non hoarding clinical cohorts for uncertainty about self and others. Nonetheless, clinical cohorts reported generally higher scores of uncertainty than healthy controls. When predicting hoarding severity, after controlling for age and mood, recollections of lack of warmth in one's family was a significant predictor of hoarding severity, with hoarding-related cognitions and fears about decision-making being additional unique predictors. The study supports the augmented cognitive–behavioural model of hoarding, inclusive of the importance of early developmental influences in hoarding.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)311-321
    Number of pages11
    JournalClinical Psychology and Psychotherapy
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


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