Experiential Avoidance and Saving Cognitions in the Prediction of Hoarding Symptoms
The cognitive-behavioral approach to hoarding implicates dysfunctional beliefs about possessions (i.e., “saving cognitions”). Acquiring and saving possessions can be conceptualized as avoidance behaviors that prevent feeling the distress provoked by such beliefs in certain situations (e.g., discarding). Experiential avoidance (EA) involves an unwillingness to endure upsetting emotions, thoughts, memories, and other private experiences, and deliberate efforts to control or escape from them. EA has been investigated in several clinical disorders, but to date little investigation of the role of EA in hoarding has been made. The present study examined EA in the prediction of hoarding symptoms. A large sample of unscreened undergraduates completed measures of EA, saving cognitions, and hoarding symptoms. EA predicted the acquisition and clutter components of hoarding even after controlling for saving cognitions and general distress. However, EA was not uniquely associated with the difficulty discarding component of hoarding. Implications for future research are discussed.
KeywordsHoarding Saving cognitions Experiential avoidance
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