About the Project
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 ([Email Address Removed])
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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