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Characteristics of digital hoarding Behaviours (Ref: SF20/PSY/NEAVE2)

  • Full or part time
    Prof N Neave
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Project Rationale and Description* [300 words max]
While the characteristics of physical hoarding behaviours are well-researched, there is much less information concerning digital hoarding – the acquisition of large numbers of digital files to the extent that this impinges upon work/life, and creates feelings of distress. Our research team have devised a questionnaire to assess the extent of digital hoarding in the workplace and have established some of the characteristics associated with digital hoarding – especially in relation to cybersecurity. However, there is currently no means of assessing digital hoarding in relation to personal life, and how such behaviours might be associated with personality characteristics and clinical manifestations (such as anxiety)
The aim of this PhD is to systematically explore (using quantitative and qualitative methods) the unique psychological characteristics of digital hoarding in relation to personal digital files, and how such behaviours might be associated with personality and clinical features (such as anxiety).

Eligibility and How to Apply:
Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g., SF20/…) will not be considered.
Deadline for applications: Open
Start Date: October 2020 or March 2021

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.

Please direct enquiries to Prof Nick Neave ()

Funding Notes

Please note, this is a self-funded project and does not include tuition fees or stipend; the studentship is available to Students Worldwide. Fee bands are available at View Website . A relevant fee band will be discussed at interview based on project running costs.


Neave, N., McKellar, K., Sillence, E., & Briggs, P. (2019) Digital hoarding behaviours: measurement and evaluation. Computers in Human Behavior, 96: 72-77.

Neave, N., Briggs, P., McKellar, K., & Sillence, E. (2019). Digital hoarding behaviours: implications for cybersecurity. In V.Benson & J.McAlaney (Ed’s) Emerging cyber threats and cognitive vulnerabilities, chapter 5, pp 77-95. Academic Press.

McKellar, K., Sillence, E., Briggs, P., & Neave, N. There’s more than one type of hoarder: Collecting, managing, and hoarding digital data in the workplace. Under review

Thorpe, S., Bolster, A., & Neave, N. Exploring aspects of the cognitive behavioural model of physical hoarding in relation to digital hoarding behaviours. In press, Digital Health.

Sweeten, G., Sillence, E., & Neave, N. (2018). Digital hoarding behaviours: underlying motivations and potential negative consequences. Computers in Human Behavior, 85: 54-60.

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