The association between self-control and hoarding: A case report

Kiara R. Timpano, Norman B. Schmidt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The capacity to exert control over one's behavior is known as self-control, and this ability to self-regulate is a necessary component for directing personal behavior toward achieving a specific goal. Baumeister and colleagues have suggested that self-control operates within a resource model such that an individual may strengthen this resource through directed practice. Hoarding is one syndrome wherein self-control may play a substantial role. Within a translational research framework, two separate case studies sought to determine if practicing self-control in a non-hoarding-related domain might have an impact on an individual's hoarding symptoms and their readiness for treatment. Two individuals diagnosed with hoarding were enrolled in a self-control practice condition. Both self-control levels and hoarding symptoms were measured at pre- and post-time points using self-report and behavioral indices. Findings in support of a favorable effect of self-control on mitigating behavioral hoarding symptoms were mixed, with 1 patient experiencing marked improvement in symptoms and the other not. We also found that self-control practice was associated with both increased motivation for treatment and overall level of self-awareness. The implications of self-control for hoarding are discussed from a disease-reduction and prevention standpoint, along with the role self-control might play within more traditional cognitive behavioral interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)439-448
Number of pages10
JournalCognitive and Behavioral Practice
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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