Parental bonding and hoarding in obsessive–compulsive disorder

David Chen, O. Joseph Bienvenu, Janice Krasnow, Ying Wang, Marco A. Grados, Bernadette Cullen, Fernando S. Goes, Brion Maher, Benjamin D. Greenberg, Nicole C. McLaughlin, Steven A. Rasmussen, Abby J. Fyer, James A. Knowles, James T. McCracken, John Piacentini, Dan Geller, David L. Pauls, S. Evelyn Stewart, Dennis L. Murphy, Yin Yao ShugartMark A. Riddle, Gerald Nestadt, Jack Samuels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Hoarding behavior may indicate a clinically and possibly etiologically distinct subtype of obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD). Empirical evidence supports a relationship between hoarding and emotional over-attachment to objects. However, little is known about the relationship between hoarding and parental attachment in OCD. Method The study sample included 894 adults diagnosed with DSM-IV OCD who had participated in family and genetic studies of OCD. Participants were assessed for Axis I disorders, personality disorders, and general personality dimensions. The Parental Bonding Instrument (PBI) was used to assess dimensions of perceived parental rearing (care, overprotection, and control). We compared parental PBI scores in the 334 hoarding and 560 non-hoarding participants, separately in men and women. We used logistic regression to evaluate the relationship between parenting scores and hoarding in women, adjusting for other clinical features associated with hoarding. Results In men, there were no significant differences between hoarding and non-hoarding groups in maternal or paternal parenting scores. In women, the hoarding group had a lower mean score on maternal care (23.4 vs. 25.7, p < 0.01); a higher mean score on maternal protection (9.4 vs. 7.7, p < 0.001); and a higher mean score on maternal control (7.0 vs. 6.2, p < 0.05), compared to the non-hoarding group. The magnitude of the relationships between maternal bonding dimensions and hoarding in women did not change after adjustment for other clinical features. Women who reported low maternal care/high maternal protection had significantly greater odds of hoarding compared to women with high maternal care/low maternal protection (OR = 2.54, 95% CI = 1.60–4.02, p < 0.001). Conclusions Perceived poor maternal care, maternal overprotection, and maternal overcontrol are associated with hoarding in women with OCD. Parenting dimensions are not related to hoarding in men. These findings provide further support for a hoarding subtype of OCD and for sex-specific differences in etiologic pathways for hoarding in OCD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-52
Number of pages10
JournalComprehensive Psychiatry
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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