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Publication Date


Document Type

Honors Project




Compulsive hoarding is characterized by the acquisition of, and failure to discard, a large number of possessions and clutter that prevents the use of living spaces as intended. Current successful treatments such as individual and group cognitive-behavioral therapy are lengthy and costly, requiring a time commitment ranging from four to twelve months, trained clinicians to administer treatment, and multiple home visits. Self-help may provide a cost-effective alternative for individuals who want to work on their hoarding issues but are unable or unwilling to engage in treatment; for individuals already in treatment, self-help may serve as a beneficial adjunct. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effectiveness of an innovative self-help program consisting of a nonprofessionally-facilitated biblio-based self-help group using Tolin, Frost, and Steketee's (2007b) Buried in Treasures: Help for Compulsive Acquiring, Saving, and Hoarding. Seventeen self-identified hoarders participated in the thirteen-week program. Results revealed significant decreases in clutter, difficulty discarding, and acquisition from pre-treatment to post-treatment, with reductions evident at mid-treatment. At post-treatment, approximately one-half of the participants in the program met criteria for clinically significant change. The findings of the present study suggest that a biblio-based self-help program is a promising new approach for treating compulsive hoarding.


51 p. Honors project-Smith College, Northampton, Mass., 2009. Includes bibliographical references (p. 33-41)