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Take part in research exploring hoarding and memory

We're looking for people with hoarding difficulties to take part in research so that we can improve treatment. You will receive an Amazon voucher for your time.

Overcoming difficulties with hoarding

We're conducting research that aims to find out more about how people with hoarding difficulties process their memories. We know that memory plays an important role in our wellbeing. By understanding more about this in hoarding difficulties, we hope that we can develop new psychological treatments to help people overcome their difficulties with hoarding.

The way in which we recall events and how our memory processes our experiences can greatly impact upon our emotional wellbeing. Research has shown that people with particular mental health difficulties can have particular ways of remembering. No research has studied whether similar patterns of recalling events are experienced by people with hoarding difficulties or not.

Recent research has indicated that the more adversity someone experiences in their life, the more difficulties they might have with hoarding. It has also been found that life adversity can impact upon how we remember experiences. By understanding more about this in people who have hoarding difficulties, we hope that we can create new psychological approaches to help people overcome their difficulties with hoarding.

This study is recruiting until 30 April 2020.

Be part of this research

Find out if you can take part and what is involved in the study.

Who can take part?

You can take part if you:

  • have hoarding difficulties
  • experience obsessions and compulsions/OCD
  • have no current mental health difficulties (so we can compare the experiences of people with and without mental health difficulties)

You may feel you have both OCD and difficulties with hoarding. You can still be part of this study if this is your experience. You'll be asked near the beginning which of these difficulties you currently feel is most impacting on you.

Who can't take part?

Unfortunately, this isn't suited if you:

  • have been diagnosed with any organic brain injury or neurological disorder
  • have undergone electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in the past or at present
  • are under the age of 18
  • are currently receiving psychological treatment
  • do not speak English
  • are currently dependent on substances (not prescribed medication)

What's involved

This is an online study and will take about an hour of your time.

You can complete the study through an online link that will be sent to you by email.

You can also take part by arranging to meet with Sarah Densham (lead researcher) at the University of Bath. If you live locally to Bath, we may be able to reimburse travel costs.

Eligibility check

You'll be asked to complete a consent form to say that you have understood and consent to participation. You'll then continue to the next page to complete some brief screening questionnaires to make sure that the study is suitable for you. This will take about 20 minutes. It is possible that you may not be eligible to take part.


If the study is suitable for you then you'll be asked to complete an online memory task. This task involves recalling specific memories in response to word cues that will be presented on your computer screen. It takes about 20 to 30 minutes to complete.

You will then be asked to complete one further questionnaire about any difficult life experiences, which is entirely optional to complete. This will take around 20 minutes.


After you have completed the study, you'll be taken to a page which provides some extra debrief information about the study.

What you'll get in return

Whilst we can't guarantee that the information you give will be able to help you directly, we hope to develop our understanding of hoarding and the ways in which we can improve the effectiveness of treatment.

If the study is suitable for you and you continue to take part after screening, you'll receive a £5 Amazon voucher.

Previously, we've unfortunately learned that online studies are at risk of fraudulent activity, such as trying to participate multiple times. Where such activity is suspected, we'll withhold payment.


This study has received ethical approval 1 and your personal information will kept confidential and anonymous 2.

If you have questions about your rights as a participant, you can contact the Chair of the Ethics Committee.

Contact the lead researcher to take part

Sign up

Contact us

If you have any questions about this research study, please contact us.

Chair of the Ethics Committee

  • 01225 383061

1 The study has been approved by the Psychology Research Ethics Committee (Reference Number: 18-336).

2 Any information you provide will be kept strictly confidential and anonymous. All of the information which is collected from you during your participation and throughout the study will be kept confidential and will conform to the Data Protection Act of 1998 and in accordance with the new GDPR guidelines. This means that all information will be kept securely on a password protected database. Only those involved in the study are able to access this information. Your responses to the memory task/life experience questionnaires will be kept anonymous by linking your answers to your participant identification number, not any other identifiable information such as your name.