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  1. Randy O. Frost

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0414

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Frost, R. O. 2010. Hoarding. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. Smith College

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Hoarding has been widely recognized as a serious problem by elder service workers but has been almost completely ignored in the research literature until very recently. Frost and Hartl (1996) defined hoarding as (1) acquisition and failure to discard a large number of possessions; (2) clutter that precludes activities for which living spaces were designed; and (3) significant distress or impairment in functioning caused by acquisition, difficulty in discarding, and clutter. In addition to these primary features, people who hoard tend to be highly perfectionistic, have problems with decision-making, and experience ADHD-like symptoms including extreme disorganization. Hoarding has been associated with impairment in activities of daily living as well as marked problems with occupational and role functioning (Steketee & Frost, 2003). The difficulties caused by hoarding can be extreme and can endanger the health and safety of the individual as well as anyone living nearby. Despite the dearth of information about hoarding, a recent epidemiological survey reported a weighted lifetime prevalence of serious hoarding problems of over 5% (Samuels et al., 2008).


  • compulsive hoarding;
  • collecting;
  • compulsive acquisition