skip to main content
Resource type Show Results with: Show Results with: Index

Discarding personal possessions increases psychophysiological activation in patients with hoarding disorder

Levy, Hannah C ; Nett, Alyssa ; Tolin, David F

Psychiatry Research, February 2019, Vol.272, pp.499-506 [Peer Reviewed Journal]

Full text available online

Citations Cited by
  • Title:
    Discarding personal possessions increases psychophysiological activation in patients with hoarding disorder
  • Author/Creator: Levy, Hannah C ; Nett, Alyssa ; Tolin, David F
  • Language: English
  • Subjects: Discarding ; Assessment ; Psychophysiology ; Hoarding Disorder ; Medicine
  • Is Part Of: Psychiatry Research, February 2019, Vol.272, pp.499-506
  • Description: Difficulty discarding is the core behavioral symptom of hoarding disorder (HD). Patients with HD report greater subjective distress when discarding their own possessions as compared to others’ possessions. To date, no prior studies have examined psychophysiological activation, an objective measure of anxious arousal, during discarding among individuals with HD. The current study assessed psychophysiological responses during a baseline resting period and two discarding tasks, one involving personal possessions and the other involving matched control (“experimenter-owned”) items in 52 patients with a primary diagnosis of HD. Results showed that, compared to discarding control items, discarding personal possessions increased skin conductance and heart rate and decreased end tidal carbon dioxide. There were no differences in heart rate variability, respiratory sinus arrhythmia, and respiration rate between the two discarding tasks. Despite the fact that discarding increased psychophysiological arousal, self-reported HD symptoms (including difficulty discarding) failed to predict psychophysiological responses during the discarding tasks. The findings suggest that there may be discordance between objective and subjective measures of hoarding-related distress, and are discussed in terms of incorporating psychophysiological measures into the assessment and treatment of HD.
  • Identifier: ISSN: 0165-1781 ; E-ISSN: 1872-7123 ; DOI: 10.1016/j.psychres.2018.12.163