Expired Study
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San Diego, California 92161


The purpose of this investigation is to examine treatment outcome of a new intervention for hoarding in older adults compared to standard case management for hoarding. The new intervention combines exposure therapy and cognitive remediation.

Study summary:

Research has shown that hoarding disorder (HD) is debilitating chronic and progressive condition that has significant public health implications. Older adults represent the largest group of HD suffers due to increasing severity with age. Often, Veterans with HD are seen in the VA system and the status of their hoarding is never assessed. Providers are treating patients for other health and social service issues yet missing an important source of disability and distress. This insidious, often undetected condition leads to greater medical and social disability and is costly to the VA system as patients continue to decompensate. When HD is even detected, patients in the VA receive indefinite case management and inadequate treatment. The cases the investigators know about have caused significant financial burden to the investigators' system. Most importantly, HD causes significant impairment and poor quality of life for the Veterans, particularly older Veterans. Unfortunately, the investigators know nothing about how to treat late life HD. Nor do the investigators know how neurocognitive features impact treatment response, which the investigators strongly suspect influence treatment outcome. HD is a potentially treatable source of disability in the VA system - one that the VA must research and treat. This study represents the first randomized controlled trial of a novel intervention for the treatment of HD in older Veterans. The main objective of this proposal is to further refine and test a new treatment for hoarding in older Veterans (age 60-85) which will be accomplished through a series of treatment development phases (case series, open labeled trial) and a randomized controlled trial. The new treatment (Cognitive Remediation and Exposure Therapy for hoarding; CogRET) is hypothesis driven and based on late life anxiety literature, consultation with mentors, results of the pilot study using a standard cognitive-behavioral intervention, and several case series that will be completed prior to the start of the Career Development Award (CDA). The first draft of CogRET is complete and is currently being used with several case studies. The research and training plan is divided into 5 phases; 1) training and preparation 2) training, further case studies using CogRET, further modification of CogRET 3)training, open label trial of CogRET, further modification of CogRET 4) randomized controlled trial and 5) presenting, publishing, dissemination of results and submission of a VA Merit grant. Primary hypotheses include 1) when randomized to CogRET, older Veterans with HD will show significant decreases in acquisition, difficulty discarding, and excessive clutter compared to those randomized to case management and 2) executive functioning (EF) is a significant moderator of treatment response. Other mediators and moderates of treatment response (psychiatric, medical, demographic, etc.) will be explored.


Inclusion Criteria: Participants must be between the ages of 60 - 85 years old and meet clinical criteria for Compulsive Hoarding (CH) developed by the Steketee and Frost (2000) research group. These criteria include: - significant amount of clutter in active living spaces - the urge to collect, buy, or acquire things - an extreme reluctance to part with items - clutter accumulation that causes distress or interferes with functioning - symptom duration of at least 6 months - the reluctance to part with items is not accounted for by other psychiatric conditions. To be enrolled, patients must have: - a score of 20 or greater on the University of California, Los Angeles Hoarding Severity Scale (UHSS) - 40 or greater on the Savings Inventory-Revised (SI-R) - severity rating of 4 or higher on the Anxiety Disorders Interview Schedule (ADIS-IV) rating scales for clutter and difficulty discarding - and diagnosis confirmed at a consensus conference including at least two licensed professionals with expertise in CH (myself and at least one mentor). Exclusion Criteria: - Individuals with moderate to severe cognitive deficits (scores below 23 on the MMSE) will be excluded. - Prospective participants must not have active substance abuse problems. - Participants will also be excluded if they are currently in other forms of psychotherapy. - Participants must have no change in any psychotropic medications for at least three months prior to the initial assessment. - Patients with current psychosis or mania will be excluded. - Mood and anxiety disorders are permitted as long as compulsive hoarding is the primary diagnosis. - Participants will are not eligible if they have active suicidal ideation, those participants will be given immediate medical or mental health attention.



Primary Contact:

Principal Investigator
Catherine R Ayers, PhD
VA San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, CA

Backup Contact:


Location Contact:

San Diego, California 92161
United States

There is no listed contact information for this specific location.

Site Status: N/A

Data Source: ClinicalTrials.gov

Date Processed: August 31, 2019

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