ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) affects children, teens, and may even continue into adulthood. WebMD defines people with the condition as “hyperactive and unable control their impulses. Or they may have trouble paying attention,” the website adds.
Hoarding Related to Developmental Disorders
The U.S. National Library of Medicine reported new research by scientists on June 3, 2019. The researchers knew “hoarding behaviour usually starts at a subclinical level in early adolescence and gradually worsens”.
However, there was little information concerning young adults. Hence the research team decided to investigate the prevalence of hoarding among university students. They were particularly interested in correlating this with “developmental disorder traits” among them.
The Method the Researchers Followed
The researchers asked 801 university students to take part in a study. Of these, 185 were women, and 616 men. This may have been because hoarding is more common in boys than girls. Whatever the reason was, all the students completed the following questionnaires:
- Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale
- Autism-Spectrum Quotient Test
- Clutter Image Rating
Clutter image rating research presents subjects with sets of images of tidy and progressively cluttered homes. They select the ones most like their own enabling researchers to gauge their subjects’ cluttering habits.
The results suggested 3.4% (27) of the sample students were self-diagnosed clutterers. They also had “a significantly higher percentage of ADHD traits compared to participants without hoarding behaviour”.
Furthermore, 7.4% of them had autism spectrum disorder traits, compared to 4.1% of the students who scored negative on the clutter image rating test. A further study found the self-diagnosed clutterers correlated higher with their inattentive scores than their hyperactivity / impulsivity ones.
The Conclusions the Researchers Made
“The results showed a high prevalence of ADHD traits in the university students with hoarding behaviour,” the team reported. “Moreover, we found that the hoarding behaviour was more strongly correlated with inattentive symptoms rather than with hyperactivity/impulsivity symptoms.
“Our results support the concept of a common pathophysiology behind hoarding behaviour and ADHD in young adults.” We believe their work will prove valuable in detecting hoarding traits earlier, and indicating counselling sooner.
Setting These Research Findings in Context
Other research suggests hoarding occurs in 2% to 6% of the general population depending on the sampling method. However, this relatively scarce behaviour trait has been gaining increasing attention in the media. This is because of the risk of falls, injuries, fires, and infection affecting hoarders’ health and safety.
The research team’s finding among students at Fukuoka on Kyushu Island in Japan has broadened the conversation about hoarders being old, depressed people. It now has to include bright youngsters at the fourth oldest imperial university in the country.
This study was pre-approved by the Kyushu University Ethics Committee of the University’s Faculty of Arts and Science. It has therefore made a significant contribution to our knowledge of how hoarding may begin while we are still young adults. We will be looking deeper into this later.