Self-reported executive function and hoarding in adults with obsessive-compulsive disorder

Jack Samuels, O. Joseph Bienvenu, Janice Krasnow, Ying Wang, Marco A. Grados, Bernadette Cullen, Fernando S. Goes, Brion Maher, Benjamin D. Greenberg, Nicole C. McLaughlin, Steven A. Rasmussen, Abby J. Fyer, James A. Knowles, James T. McCracken, John Piacentini, Dan Geller, David L. Pauls, S. Evelyn Stewart, Dennis L. Murphy, Yin Yao ShugartMark A. Riddle, Gerald Nestadt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background Hoarding behavior may distinguish a clinically and possibly etiologically distinct subtype of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Little is known about the relationship between executive dysfunction and hoarding in individuals with OCD. Methods The study sample included 431 adults diagnosed with DSM-IV OCD. Participants were assessed by clinicians for Axis I disorders, personality disorders, indecision, and hoarding. Executive functioning domains were evaluated using a self-report instrument, the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function-Adult Version (BRIEF-A). We compared scores on these domains in the 143 hoarding and 288 non-hoarding participants, separately in men and women. We used logistic regression to evaluate relationships between executive function scores and hoarding, and correlation and linear regression analyses to evaluate relationships between executive function scores and hoarding severity, in women. Results In men, the hoarding group had a significantly higher mean score than the non-hoarding group only on the shift dimension. In contrast, in women, the hoarding group had higher mean scores on the shift scale and all metacognition dimensions, i.e., those that assess the ability to systematically solve problems via planning and organization. The relationships in women between hoarding and scores on initiating tasks, planning/organizing, organization of materials, and the metacognition index were independent of other clinical features. Furthermore, the severity of hoarding in women correlated most strongly with metacognition dimensions. Conclusions Self-reported deficits in planning and organization are associated with the occurrence and severity of hoarding in women, but not men, with OCD. This may have implications for elucidating the etiology of, and developing effective treatments for, hoarding in OCD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-59
Number of pages7
JournalComprehensive Psychiatry
StatePublished - Feb 2018


  • Executive function
  • Hoarding
  • OCD
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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