Online Program

Family patterns in hoarding behavior

Monday, November 4, 2013

Andrea Kelley, M.S.W., LCSW, School of Social Work, Boston University, Boston, MA
Jordana Muroff, Ph.D., MSW, LICSW, School of Social Work, Boston University, Boston, MA
Gail Steketee, Ph.D., M.S.S., LICSW, School of Social Work, Boston University, Boston, MA
Randy Frost, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Smith College, Northampton, MA
David Tolin, Ph.D., ABPP, Anxiety Disorders Center, Hartford Hospital, Hartford, CT
Jeremy Wernick, School of Social Work, Boston University, Boston, MA
Estimated to affect 5% of the United States population, with similar prevalence rates in Europe, hoarding disorder causes significant difficulty with discarding, managing clutter, and acquiring possessions – leading to impairment and distress. On a local level, public health departments are severely taxed by situations where hoarding creates a public health risk – one Massachusetts town reporting a cost of $16,000 for clearing a single home. Hoarding can cause problems with health, relationships, and employment. With the anticipated addition of Hoarding Disorder as a distinct diagnosis to the DSM-5, understanding and treating this disorder will take on even greater importance. Previous studies have indicated that hoarding may have genetic and familial linkages. Data collected in a NIMH-funded study of the psychopathology of hoarding revealed significant familial patterns. About 440 adult participants were stratified into Hoarding Disorder (HD, n=215), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD, n=102), and Healthy Controls (HC, n=123). The HD group reported significantly higher rates of parental problems with clutter and difficulty discarding than did the OCD or HC groups (ps<.001). Within the HD group 46.8% of mothers and 35.5% of fathers were reported to have problems with clutter, compared to 20% / 15.2% for OCD and 18.5% / 10.9% for HC participants. For difficulty discarding, 43.6% of HD mothers and 37.6% of fathers were implicated, versus 23% / 23.2% for OCD and 18.6% / 15.1% for HC members' parents. These and additional study findings indicate that interventions addressing inter-generational patterns may be necessary for prevention.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Other professions or practice related to public health
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify patterns of reported familial hoarding behaviors within a sample of study participants diagnosed with hoarding disorder compared to OCD and healthy control groups. Compare dimensions of hoarding behavior reported among family members of hoarding disorder sample versus other groups. Discuss implications of familial patterns for intervention designs.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As the Project Director for a university-based research team with several ongoing hoarding research studies under the direction of investigators Drs. Gail Steketee and Jordana Muroff, I am engaged in public health social work research to further the understanding of hoarding and its treatment. I received my MSW degree in 2012 and anticipate receiving my MPH degree in 2014. Among my research interests is the impact of hoarding on other family members, particularly children.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.