Phenomenology and Characteristics of Compulsive Hoarding

Randy O. Frost and Jessica L. Rasmussen

in The Oxford Handbook of Obsessive Compulsive and Spectrum Disorders

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780195376210
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199940561 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Phenomenology and Characteristics of Compulsive Hoarding

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This chapter discusses current understanding of the phenomenology and characteristics of compulsive hoarding. The disorder is conceptualized within a cognitive-behavioral framework that includes excessive acquisition, difficulties with discarding, and clutter/disorganization. Information-processing deficits, emotional attachments, beliefs about possessions, and perfectionism are examined as underlying etiological factors. Characteristics of the disorder such as prevalence, onset and course, demographics and comorbidity are discussed. It is suggested that the distinctive features of compulsive hoarding, including unique neural and genetic substrates, warrant diagnostic classification as a separate disorder. Methodological problems with existing research are identified.

Keywords: hoarding; difficulty discarding; excessive acquisition; phenomenology; clutter; information-processing deficits; diagnostic classification

Article.  14512 words. 

Subjects: Clinical Psychology

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