Mood influences the relationship between distress intolerance and discarding

Melissa M. Norberg*, Dharani Keyan, Jessica R. Grisham

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


The cognitive-behavioural model of hoarding disorder proposes that individuals may hoard to avoid negative emotions. Distress intolerance may contribute to avoidance of negative emotions. The aim of this study was to examine the influence of sadness and other psychiatric distress on the relationship between distress intolerance and discarding in a nonclinical undergraduate sample (N=107). Participants completed self-report measures and underwent either a neutral or sad mood induction before making decisions to discard or keep personal and laboratory items. Consistent with previous research, distress intolerance was statistically related to greater self-reported discarding difficulty, but not when controlling for psychiatric distress. However, the association between distress intolerance and the proportion of personal items discarded in the laboratory varied as a function of mood induction. For those who received the sad emotion induction, individuals who reported less distress tolerance, greater object value, and more ongoing distress discarded fewer items in the laboratory. For participants in the neutral emotion condition, only greater self-reported object value predicted less discarding. These findings suggest that acute emotions may play a role in how distress intolerance, object value, and chronic mood influence discarding behaviour. As such, the relations among distress, distress intolerance, and discarding may be more complex than previous self-report studies have shown.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-82
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015


  • hoarding
  • distress tolerance
  • emotional reactivity: emotion regulation
  • collecting

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