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Exploring the different ‘types’ of hoarding (Ref: SF20/PSY/NEAVE1)

Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

Prof N Neave Applications accepted all year round Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Hoarding Disorder (HD) is when a person accumulates items to such an extent that their living conditions become extremely cluttered. This clutter creates serious risks to personal safety. A person’s home becomes unsafe and unhygienic, and carrying out basic tasks (e.g., cooking, washing) can be very difficult. The extreme clutter and difficulty in the ability to discard causes great emotional distress to the person. Their hoarding behaviours also creates tension with friends, family and neighbours, and hoarders become more socially isolated, and it may even interfere with their ability to work full-time.
This condition affects around 2.5% of the population, and little is yet known known about what helps to reduce or prevent it. A form of psychological intervention called Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is commonly offered, but reviews suggest that, overall, hoarding is difficult to treat successfully. It is also the case that even if therapy is effective in the short-term, unless it is offered on a long-term basis then the hoarding behaviours tend to re-appear. An additional problem is that many people who hoard do not consider their behaviour to be a problem, and so are reluctant to seek help, get a psychiatric diagnosis, or engage with treatment. Hoarding is thus often ‘hidden’ from society.
Current research defines ‘Hoarding Disorder’ as a single entity. However accumulating evidence suggests that hoarding may actually consist of several different types, each with their own unique psychological features. This is possibly why current treatments lack effectiveness – they need to be tailored to address the specific psychological characteristics displayed by the individual.
The aim of this PhD is to systematically explore the unique psychological characteristics of ‘different’ types of hoarding (e.g. compulsive shopping, severe self-neglect, collecting, hoarding with and without-OCD etc) to then enable consideration of different therapeutic interventions.

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., Caiazza, R., Hamilton, C., McInnes, L., Saxton, T.K., Deary, V., & Wood, M. (2017). The economic costs of hoarding behaviours in local authority/housing association tenants and private home owners in the north-east of England. Public Health, 148: 137-139.

Neave, N., Tyson, H., McInnes, L., & Hamilton, C. (2016). The role of attachment style and anthropomorphism in predicting hoarding behaviours in a non-clinical sample. Personality and Individual Differences, 99: 33-37.

Neave, N., Jackson, R., Saxton, T & Hönekopp, J. (2015). The influence of anthropomorphic tendencies on human hoarding behaviours. Personality and Individual Differences, 72: 214-219.

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