Department of Psychology

Understanding Categorisation in Hoarding

Mon Apr 24 15:36:00 BST 2017

Why are we doing this research?

Compulsive Hoarding affects between 1.5-6% of the population. We know that hoarding has a considerable impact on not just the individual but on their immediate (family, friends and neighbours) and wider societal system. Treatment success can be very variable.
Individuals with Hoarding difficulties have been proposed to have difficulties in categorising objects. This study seeks to explore this further through asking participants to complete a series of different categorisation tasks. Having a clearer understanding of categorisation in hoarding will hopefully inform our theoretical understanding of hoarding as well as help inform psychological treatments for this population.

Who are we looking for to take part in this research?

We are looking for two groups   

  • People with hoarding difficulties
  • People without any hoarding problems or any other psychological difficulties currently 

People must be over 18 and living in the UK to take part.

What does the research study involve?

We are interested in exploring to see if there are any differences in how people who hoard categorise objects compared to people who don’t hoard valued possession in quite the same way.

To help with this you will be asked to:

  • Complete a telephone interview (to ensure the study is suited to you)
  • Complete a set of questionnaires online/paper
  • Complete a testing session at the University where you’ll be asked to sort objects into different categories.

You will be given a £5 as a small gesture of thanks and a small donation made to a Hoarding Charity on your behalf if you so wish.

How long will it take?

The study (including the brief telephone interview) will take approximately 2.5 hours.

When and where will the research take place?

The research will be start from 2017 and run until 2018.

  • The initial phone interview will be done over the phone /Skype, depending on your preference. The testing will occur at the University of Bath, or at your home if you are unable to travel there
  • The questionnaires can be completed online or if you prefer, they can be sent through the post.

Will my taking part in this study be kept confidential?

Yes. All information collected about you during the course of the research will be kept confidential and will conform to the Data Protection Act of 1998.
This research has been approved by the Department of Psychology Ethics Committee (Ref. 16-324).

Why should you take part?

We cannot promise the study will help you directly but the information collected from you and other participants may help to improve our understanding about hoarding and what is effective in its treatment. If you complete testing you will be given a £5 voucher and the opportunity if you so wish to donate £1 to a Hoarding Charity (“Hoarding UK”, a not-for-profit Hoarding organisation which provides support and resources to those who hoard or are affected by it).

Who can I contact for further information?

If you would like to take part in the study please email Alice Kilvert (Clinical Psychologist in Training and Lead Researcher for the project) on or

Supervising this project is Dr James Gregory (Clinical Psychologist with specialist research interest and experience in Hoarding Difficulties).