Hoarding and the multi-faceted construct of impulsivity: A cross-cultural investigation

Kiara R. Timpano, Jessica Rasmussen, Cornelia Exner, Winfried Rief, Norman B. Schmidt, Sabine Wilhelm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


The proposed hoarding disorder represents a serious psychiatric condition and considerable public health burden. Although tremendous strides have been made in understanding the phenomenology and treatment of this condition, many features regarding the etiology and nosology remain unclear. In particular, the association between impulsivity and hoarding, as well as the differential role of impulsivity versus compulsivity has yet to be fully considered. The current investigation sought to fill this gap in the literature by examining the relationship between hoarding and impulsivity across two independent, cross-cultural investigations. Two separate conceptualizations of the impulsivity construct were considered, including the Barratt Impulsivity Scale and the UPPS Impulsive Behavior Scale. Across Study 1 (US young adult sample; N = 372) and Study 2 (German young adult sample; N = 160) results revealed that hoarding was associated with greater rates of impulsivity, despite controlling for theoretically relevant covariates. More fined-grained analyses revealed a differential relationship with respect to the various facets of impulsivity, such that hoarding was most strongly linked with attentional and motor impulsivity, as well as urgency (i.e., impulsive behaviors in response to negative affect) and lack of perseverance. When considered simultaneously, both impulsivity and non-hoarding OCD symptoms explained unique variance in hoarding. The implications of impulsivity for hoarding are discussed from a classification perspective, as well as from a vulnerability standpoint.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)363-370
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2013


  • Classification
  • Compulsivity
  • Hoarding
  • Impulsivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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