To access this work you must either be on the Smith College campus OR have valid Smith login credentials.

On Campus users: To access this work if you are on campus please Select the Download button.

Off Campus users: To access this work from off campus, please select the Off-Campus button and enter your Smith username and password when prompted.

Non-Smith users: You may request this item through Interlibrary Loan at your own library.

Publication Date


Document Type

Honors Project




Compulsive hoarding, Distress (Psychology), Acquisitiveness, Cognitive therapy, Hoarding disorder, Acquisition, Distress


Excessive acquisition is a key symptom of hoarding disorder (HD), appearing in 60 to 95% of HD patients. No studies have examined the level of distress if acquiring is resisted nor the duration of distress following non-acquisition. The present study provided evidence on the duration of distress following a decision not to acquire a desired possession. Cognitive behavior therapy for HD includes attempts to resist acquisition that include questions designed as cognitive restructuring experiences to be addressed during the acquiring decision. The impact of cognitive restructuring has not been experimentally examined. The present study compared cognitive restructuring to a simple thought listing procedure leading up to a decision not to acquire. The current sample was composed of HD participants (n=71) and community controls (n=62). The HD group was split into Thought-Listing (n=44) and Cognitive-Restructuring (n=27). Chi-square analyses revealed that 83.5% of the HD group resisted acquiring compared to 95.4% of the community controls (p=0.002). A further chi-square indicated that more HD participants in the thought listing condition resisted acquisition (91.7%) than HD participants who received cognitive restructuring (73%; p=0.021). Repeated measures analyses indicated that distress decreased over the course of the study in all groups, but the rate of decline differed across groups. The findings of this study failed to support the hypothesis that cognitive restructuring facilitates the decision to resist acquisition. The treatment of hoarding should include thought listing. Further exploration is needed to determine under which conditions cognitive restructuring is effective for hoarding treatment (Steketee and Frost, 2007).




27 pages. Honors project-Smith College, 2015. Includes bibliographical references (pages 20-24)