Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Psychology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Kiara R. Timpano

Second Committee Member

Jutta Joormann

Third Committee Member

Edward Rappaport


Hoarding is an impairing disorder characterized by difficulties with discarding one’s belongings and often excessive acquisition, which lead to extreme clutter. Of the hypothesized risk and maintenance factors for hoarding, stress has emerged as an important risk construct. Traumatic and stressful life events have been associated with greater hoarding symptoms and possibly the onset of symptoms; yet, past research is marked by methodological limitations. Using experimental methodology and multi-method assessments, the current study investigated the direct effect of a stress manipulation on subsequent hoarding behaviors; the associations of biological and subjective stress response with hoarding behaviors, symptoms, and cognitions; and the interactive role of stress in predicting hoarding behaviors. Results revealed that subjective stress response was associated with specific hoarding cognitions and acquiring tendencies. Findings also indicated that stress interacted with distress tolerance and negative urgency to predict difficulties discarding. However, due to complex, unexpected findings from the experimental manipulation, no causal conclusions can be drawn at this time. Explanations and suggestions for future research are discussed in order to expand our comprehension of the multi-faceted, complex relationship between hoarding and stress.


Hoarding; Stress; Compulsive Buying; Discarding; Emotions; Distress Tolerance