The role of emotion regulation (ER) has been receiving increased attention in relation to various forms of psychopathology including hoarding disorder (HD). However, questionnaire designs are limited to finding associations of ER with symptoms or symptom groups, without finding out how such constructs might be involved in the disorder.
This study was a qualitative investigation of ER in a clinical HD sample (N = 11).
Prominent themes provided support for ER difficulties in hoarding. In particular, difficulties with identifying and describing feelings, unhelpful attitudes toward the emotional experience, the use of avoidance‐based strategies, and a perceived lack of effective ER strategies were prominent themes. Furthermore, emotional factors were identified as being associated with the onset and/or exacerbation of hoarding behavior, and possessions and acquiring behavior appeared to serve an ER function.
The current paper provides a nuanced account of the role of ER in hoarding difficulties.