Hoarding in obsessive-compulsive disorder: Results from the OCD Collaborative Genetics Study

Jack F. Samuels, O. Joseph Bienvenu, Anthony Pinto, Abby J. Fyer, James T. McCracken, Scott L. Rauch, Dennis L. Murphy, Marco A. Grados, Benjamin D. Greenberg, James A. Knowles, John Piacentini, Paul A. Cannistraro, Bernadette Cullen, Mark A. Riddle, Steven A. Rasmussen, David L. Pauls, Virginia L. Willour, Yin Y. Shugart, Kung-Yee Liang, Rudolf Hoehn-SaricGerald Nestadt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

167 Scopus citations


Hoarding behavior occurs frequently in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Results from previous studies suggest that individuals with OCD who have hoarding symptoms are clinically different than non-hoarders and may represent a distinct clinical group. In the present study, we compared 235 hoarding to 389 non-hoarding participants, all of whom had OCD, collected in the course of the OCD Collaborative Genetics Study. We found that, compared to non-hoarding individuals, hoarders were more likely to have symmetry obsessions and repeating, counting, and ordering compulsions; poorer insight; more severe illness; difficulty initiating or completing tasks; and indecision. Hoarders had a greater prevalence of social phobia and generalized anxiety disorder. Hoarders also had a greater prevalence of obsessive-compulsive and dependent personality disorders. Five personality traits were independently associated with hoarding: miserliness, preoccupation with details, difficulty making decisions, odd behavior or appearance, and magical thinking. Hoarding and indecision were more prevalent in the relatives of hoarding than of non-hoarding probands. Hoarding in relatives was associated with indecision in probands, independently of proband hoarding status. The findings suggest that hoarding behavior may help differentiate a distinct clinical subgroup of people with OCD and may aggregate in some OCD families. Indecision may be a risk factor for hoarding in these families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)673-686
Number of pages14
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2007


  • Comorbidity
  • Hoarding
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Personality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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