The need to consume: Hoarding as a shared psychological feature of compulsive buying and binge eating


Introduction Compulsive buying and binge eating are two frequently co-occurring psychiatric conditions. Hoarding, which is the psychological need to excessively gather and store items, is frequently associated with both compulsive buying severity and binge eating severity. In the present study, we explored whether different dimensions of hoarding are a shared feature of compulsive buying and binge eating. Method Participants consisted of 434 people seeking treatment for compulsive buying disorder. Registered psychiatrists confirmed the diagnosis of compulsive buying through semi-structured clinical interviews. Participants also completed measures to assess compulsive buying severity, binge eating severity, and dimensions of hoarding (acquisition, difficulty discarding, and clutter). Two-hundred and seven participants completed all three measures. Results Significant correlations were found between compulsive buying severity and the acquisition dimension of hoarding. Binge eating severity was significantly correlated with all three dimensions of hoarding. Hierarchical regression analysis found that compulsive buying severity was a significant predictor of binge eating severity. However, compulsive buying severity no longer predicted binge eating severity when the dimensions of hoarding were included simultaneously in the model. Clutter was the only subscale of hoarding to predict binge eating severity in step two of the regression analysis. Conclusion Our results suggest that the psychological need to excessively gather and store items may constitute a shared process that is important in understanding behaviors characterized by excessive consumption such as compulsive buying and binge eating.