Title page for ETD etd-05162007-180241

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author James, Hope
URN etd-05162007-180241
Title The study of being an adult daughter of a hoarding mother: A qualitative description
Degree Master of Science
Department Human Development
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Huebner, Angela J. Committee Chair
McCollum, Eric E. Committee Member
Stith, Sandra M. Committee Member
  • Compulsive hoarding
  • adult children
Date of Defense 2007-05-09
Availability unrestricted
The study of being an adult daughter of a hoarding mother: A qualitative description

Hope. James


Research into the phenomenon of compulsive hoarding has only been conducted during the last twenty years. To date, no studies have been done that examine the impacts of compulsive hoarding on young and grown children. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore what the positive and negative impacts on children or adult children are. Twelve women, each identifying themselves as an adult child of a compulsive hoarder completed a qualitative questionnaire via email. Participants were recruited through membership in the internet support group, “children of hoarders”. All participants identified their mother as the compulsive hoarder. Three distinct themes emerged over three distinct time periods. The first time period begins with early childhood and continues through adolescence. The second begins with the time they first moved away from home. The third starts with the end of the second and continues through to whatever age they are today. The first theme’s focus was the participants’ feelings as associated with their mother’s hoarding. The second theme dealt with a need to understand what “normal” is. The third theme was the means they use/used to cope with the situation. Clinical implications include support for using systems theory, ambiguous loss and attachment frameworks. This study also provides valuable information relevant to participants need to normalize their experiences.

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