Assessment, treatment and the importance of early intervention of childhood hoarding

Davíð R.M.A. Hojgaard*, Gudmundur Skarphedinsson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Hoarding disorder (HD) is characterised by difficulties in discharging or parting with possessions irrespective of their actual value, urges to save and acquire new items and excessive clutter in living areas. There is an urgent need to advance the understanding of HD in child and adolescent populations. The aim of this paper is to cover the assessment, treatment strategies and tools currently available. In general, data on assessment of paediatric HD are scant. Only one psychometrically sound scale, the Child Savings Inventory, which is a parent-rated scale used to assess the severity of hoarding symptoms, was found. However, this scale is not sufficient to produce a diagnosis of HD. Regarding treatment, there was only a limited number of case studies suggesting the effectiveness of cognitive behavioural therapy that includes exposure to discarding and not collecting new items, using contingency management for exposure and oppositional behaviour, cognitive training and instructing parents to assist with home-based exposures. In conclusion, there is an urgent need for properly validated Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders assessment tools, and we encourage practitioners and researchers to develop and test a Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) protocol for paediatric HD based on the aforementioned components.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-152
Number of pages8
JournalChildren Australia
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2020

Bibliographical note

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Other keywords

  • assessment
  • children and adolescents
  • cognitive behavioural therapy
  • Hoarding
  • treatment


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