Hoarding symptoms and workplace impairment

Brittany M. Mathes, Alastair Henry, Norman B. Schmidt, Melissa M. Norberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: A prior study found that over 50% of treatment-seeking individuals who hoard incur at least one psychiatric work impairment day (i.e., they are unable to work or are less effective at work due to poor mental health) each month. The aim of the current study was to assess work-related variables associated with workplace impairment in a non-treatment-seeking sample. Design: Cross-sectional. Self-report questionnaires were administered via Amazon's Mechanical Turk. Methods: One hundred and eighty-five employed individuals who reported elevated hoarding symptoms completed questionnaires regarding hoarding symptoms, work engagement, psychiatric work impairment, work control, attention and concentration difficulties at work, and quality of workplace relationships. Results: Greater workplace control and higher quality workplace relationships were associated with greater work engagement. Greater hoarding symptoms and attention difficulties at work were associated with more psychiatric work impairment days. Work engagement statistically mediated the association between the quality of workplace relationships and work impairment, though mediation was also significant when reversing the mediating and outcome variables. Conclusions: Among a community sample of employed individuals, greater hoarding symptoms were associated with greater psychiatric work impairment. Work-related variables, such as co-worker relationships and attention difficulties, contributed additional variance above that accounted for by hoarding symptoms. There were significant associations between co-worker relationships, work engagement, and workplace impairment, though the direction of the mediation model is unclear. Future research should examine factors associated with unemployment in hoarding disorder. Practitioner Points: Clinicians should be aware that greater hoarding severity directly contributes to greater workplace impairment. Clinicians should consider prioritizing the reduction in clutter in living areas that impact one's daily activities and subsequent ability to attend work. Clinicians should assess and treat workplace impairment by helping individuals achieve greater control at work, developing higher quality interpersonal relationships, and improving their attentional abilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342-356
Number of pages15
JournalBritish Journal of Clinical Psychology
Issue number3
Early online date11 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2019


  • attention
  • engagement
  • hoarding disorder
  • impairment
  • interpersonal
  • workplace


Dive into the research topics of 'Hoarding symptoms and workplace impairment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this