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Hoarding Research

Director: Professor Nick Neave (nick.neave@northumbria.ac.uk)

The Hoarding Research Group is a multidisciplinary team of academics from the North-East Universities, whose research is focussed on better understanding Hoarding Disorder, and reducing its negative effects on individuals, families, communities and professionals. The Group meets on a monthly basis.

What is Hoarding Disorder?

Hoarding Disorder is a recognized psychiatric condition characterised by the over-accumulation of objects, combined with difficulty in discarding items, which results in excessive clutter.  The clutter can lead to very poor living conditions and this can have a negative impact on the person who hoards, their families, neighbours, communities, and the professionals who work with them (e.g. social workers, housing officers, healthcare staff etc).

Due to the high social, health, and economic costs of hoarding behaviours, there is an urgent need for improved understanding of the causes and consequences of hoarding, and for high-quality, multidisciplinary research to devise individually tailored intervention strategies to reduce its impact.  

Aim of the Hoarding Research Group

Our aim is to develop a better understanding of Hoarding Disorder and explore the impact of this disorder on the individual and society. To enable this the HRG comprises seven Working Groups, each focusing on a particular issue in relation to hoarding behaviours, these comprise: 

  • Self-neglect, safeguarding, mental capacity and legal aspects of hoarding. 
  • Psychometric, cognitive and neuropsychological aspects of hoarding. 
  • Multi-agency approaches to hoarding. 
  • Social, industrial, and cybersecurity  implications of digital hoarding behaviours.  
  • Clinical interventions and therapeutic approaches to hoarding.  
  • Animal hoarding.
  • Personal risk, family, social, developmental, and environmental impacts of hoarding. 

Examples of current research projects are:

  • Hoarding in housing tenants and how this may influence their decision to move from independent to supported housing.
  • The measurement of personal digital hoarding.
  • Digital hoarding in the workplace and how it may relate to cybersecurity behaviours.
  • Links between compulsive shopping behaviours and executive function deficits.
  • The role of childhood uncertainty in the development of hoarding behaviours.
  • Issues of mental capacity in hoarding behaviours.
  • Digital hoarding and student anxiety.
  • Similarities and differences between hoarding and collecting.
  • The role of autism in hoarding behaviours.
  • Exploring links between hoarding and psychosis, especially aberrant salience and schizotypy.
  • The role of anthropomorphism and hoarding.
  • Help-seeking behaviours in people who hoard.
  • The extent of animal hoarding in the north east, and how this impacts local government agencies.
  • Digital hoarding and environmental sustainability.
  • The role of emotion regulation in hoarding behaviours.

News and media 

Digital hoarders: we’ve identified fourtypes – which are you?

Relevant Publications

Click here for a list of relevant publications

Funding Successes

  • “Cybersecurity risks of digital hoarding”, £103,683 awarded to Nick Neave from CREST, 2017.
  • “Understanding the relationship between digital accumulation behaviours and GDPR”, £49,016 awarded to Nick Neave from GCHQ, 2018.
  • “The impact of hoarding and social support networks on attitudes towards moving into supported housing in older individuals”, £31,755 awarded to Nick Neave from the Sir Halley Trust, 2020.
  • “Help-seeking behaviours in hoarding”, £10,000 awarded to Laura Clark from Northumbria University, 2022.

The North East Hoarding Partnership

The HRG is part of the North East Hoarding Partnership (NEHP), a collection of professional stakeholders who take  a multi-agency approach to supporting practitioners and organisations to work with individuals and families living with hoarding behaviours and with those in recovery. The aim of the NEHP is to improve quality of life in individuals who hoard,  and aid their journey towards recovery. We do this by sharing knowledge, experience, and skills through a non-judgemental and trauma informed approach to our work. The NEHP meets every 3 months. For further information contact the Chair (nick.neave@northumbria.ac.uk).

 



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