Quality of life and functional impairment in compulsive hoarding

J Psychiatr Res. 2011 Apr;45(4):475-80. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2010.08.007. Epub 2010 Sep 6.


Compulsive hoarding patients have been found in previous studies to have substantial disability and functional impairment. However, no prior study has examined subjective and objective quality of life (QOL) in patients with compulsive hoarding. This present study compared compulsive hoarders and non-hoarding OCD patients across a variety of QOL domains. Subjects were 171 consecutive adult patients (34 compulsive hoarders, 137 non-hoarding patients with DSM-IV OCD) treated openly between 1998 and 2004 in the UCLA OCD Partial Hospitalization Program (OCD PHP), a specialized, intensive, multi-modal treatment program for treatment-refractory patients. Scores on the Quality of Life Scale and other symptom severity measures on admission were compared between compulsive hoarders and non-hoarding OCD patients. Compulsive hoarders were older and had lower global functioning than non-hoarding OCD patients. Both groups had low overall QOL scores across multiple domains. Compulsive hoarders had significantly lower levels of satisfaction with their safety than non-hoarding OCD patients, were more often the victims of both violent and non-violent crime, felt less safe in their neighborhoods, and felt less protected against attack. Compulsive hoarders were also much less satisfied with their living arrangements than non-hoarding OCD patients. No differences were found on financial variables, but the vast majority of patients in both groups were unemployed. Compulsive hoarders have lower QOL than non-hoarding OCD patients in the domains of safety and living situation. Psychosocial rehabilitation that focuses on problems with victimization, safety, employment, and financial areas may be a beneficial augmentation to treatment for compulsive hoarding.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / physiopathology*
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / psychology*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Quality of Life*
  • Young Adult