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, 20 (5), 675-86

Age of Onset of Compulsive Hoarding


Age of Onset of Compulsive Hoarding

Jessica R Grisham et al. J Anxiety Disord.


Although compulsive hoarding appears to be a chronic, progressive disorder, little is known about its onset and course. The current study employed retrospective assessment of 51 individuals with compulsive hoarding difficulties to determine onset of various hoarding symptoms (clutter, acquisition, difficulty discarding), as well as the individual's degree of recognition of the problem at various times throughout his or her life. Participants were asked to describe life events from each decade that occurred at the time hoarding symptoms were developing. Symptoms of clutter and difficulty discarding appeared to begin at approximately the same age, whereas acquiring problems began slightly later. Recognition of the problem developed significantly later than any of the symptoms themselves. A portion of participants reported that their hoarding symptoms were reduced at some point in their lives, but few reported full remission of hoarding at any point. Survival analysis of age of onset of hoarding symptoms indicated that individuals who reported a stressful event when saving behavior started had a significantly later age of onset than those who reported no events at the age of onset. Perhaps for some individuals compulsive hoarding is a lifelong characterological phenomenon, whereas for others hoarding behavior develops later as a reaction to stress or loss.

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