Hoarding disorder and difficulties in emotion regulation

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Journal Article
Journal of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders, 2018, 16 pp. 98 - 103
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© 2018 Elsevier Inc. The present study aimed to examine self-reported deficits in emotion regulation (ER) among individuals with hoarding disorder (HD). Seventy-seven adult outpatients with HD and 45 age- and gender-matched healthy control (HC) participants received a diagnostic assessment and completed self-report measures of hoarding severity, depression, and anxiety. In addition, participants completed the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS), which measures lack of emotional clarity (Clarity), difficulty regulating behavior when distressed (Impulse), difficulty engaging in goal-directed cognition and behavior when distressed (Goals), unwillingness to accept emotional responses (Accept), and lack of access to strategies for feeling better when distressed (Strategies). The HD group scored higher on all DERS subscales than did the HC group; self-reported ER deficits remained evident when controlling for baseline depression, anxiety, and stress. The DERS correlated significantly with hoarding severity in the HD group: acquiring was significantly correlated with DERS Impulse, Strategies, and Accept; saving was significantly correlated with DERS Accept. Correlations remained significant when controlling for depression, anxiety, and stress. Results suggest that HD is characterized by self-reported deficits in ER, and that this relationship is not solely attributable to high levels of depression and anxiety.
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