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GROUP COGNITIVE AND BEHAVIORAL THERAPY AND BIBLIOTHERAPY FOR HOARDING: A PILOT TRIAL

Authors

  • Jordana Muroff M.S.W., Ph.D.,

    Corresponding author
    • Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Gail Steketee M.S.W., Ph.D.,

  • Christiana Bratiotis M.S.W., Ph.D.,

  • Abigail Ross M.S.W., M.P.H.


Correspondence to: Jordana Muroff, Boston University School of Social Work, 264 Bay State Road, Boston, MA 02215. E-mail: jmuroff@bu.edu

Abstract

Background

Group cognitive behavioral treatments (GCBTs) for hoarding have produced modest benefits. The current study examined whether the outcomes of a specialized GCBT improve upon bibliotherapy (BIB) for hoarding, as part of a stepped care model. We also explored whether additional home assistance enhanced GCBT outcomes.

Methods

Hoarding patients (n = 38) were randomized and completed one of three conditions: (1) GCBT with nonclinician home assistants (GCBT+HA; N = 11), (2) GCBT without HA (CGBT; N = 14), and (3) BIB (N = 13). All GCBT participants received 20 weekly group sessions and four home visits by a group co-therapist. GCBT+HA groups received four additional visits by a nonclinician coach. BIB participants were assigned a self-help book describing specific skills to reduce hoarding over the 20-week period. All participants were assessed by self-report at baseline, mid-treatment, and posttreatment. The sample averaged 57 years old and was mainly female, White, highly educated, employed, and living alone.

Results

GCBT+HA and GCBT participants showed significant reductions on hoarding and depression symptoms, whereas BIB did not. GCBT+HA and GCBT benefited substantially and similarly on the saving inventory-revised (reductions of 29.9 and 23.3%, respectively) and SI-R (Saving Inventory-Revised) (reductions of 26.5 and 25.4%), whereas BIB participants showed very limited improvement (9% reduction) on both measures.

Conclusion

This study provides support for the efficacy of GCBT for hoarding. The effect of adding nonclinician home assistance was not significant in this small sample. BIB was not sufficient to improve hoarding symptoms. The findings have implications for a stepped care model for treating hoarding (e.g., the benefits of psycho-education via BIB, added benefits of extra in-home visits) and suggest the need to further examine the role of in-home hoarding coaches.

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