Research paper by Gail G Steketee, Andrea A AA Kelley, Jeremy A JA Wernick, Jordana J Muroff, Randy O RO Frost, David F DF Tolin

Indexed on: 02 Jul '15Published on: 02 Jul '15Published in: Depression and Anxiety


Previous research suggests that hoarding aggregates in families and is associated with health and safety risks and family problems. The present study examined gender- and diagnosis-related differences in reports of hoarding symptoms among first-degree relatives of people who hoard, and of clinical and community samples.The present study included 443 participants in a study of hoarding behavior: 217 with hoarding disorder (HD), 96 with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and 130 nonclinical community controls (CC). Assessment included a detailed interview of familial patterns of hoarding behaviors among parents and siblings and measures of hoarding severity.In the combined sample, participants reported more hoarding among female (mothers, sisters) than male (fathers, brothers) relatives. Significantly more female than male participants indicated they had a parent or any first-degree relative with hoarding behaviors. However, within the HD sample no significant gender effects were found for household, safety, and functioning variables, or for hoarding symptom severity. In an age- and gender-matched subsample (total n = 150), HD participants reported more hallmark hoarding symptoms (difficulty discarding and saving/clutter), and acquiring among their relatives compared to OCD and CC samples, and parents had higher rates than siblings.Hoarding symptoms appear to be common among first-degree relatives of people who hoard and are also found among relatives of control samples. The predominance of hoarding symptoms among female relatives may indicate genetic or modeling transmission but this requires further study using large twin samples. Clinicians should consider that family members may also have significant hoarding symptoms.