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date: 24 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The authors critically evaluate the evidence for the range of positive and negative emotional attachment to objects and their role in acquisition and hoarding. An electronic search was conducted and identified studies screened according to specified inclusion and exclusion criteria. Fifteen studies met review criteria, and the research methodology of each study was quality assessed. Studies are synthesized using descriptive methods and effect sizes computed and compared where appropriate. Moderate quality evidence indicates that hoarders have stronger emotional attachment to objects than both clinical and nonclinical populations. Associated effect sizes were large, suggesting that emotional attachment to objects is an important construct within hoarding. Limited evidence from two studies (one of high quality and one of poor quality) suggests that hoarding-specific interventions reduce emotional attachment to possessions, although long-term maintenance of such gains has yet to be established. The review illustrates that, to date, the characteristics and nature of the emotional attachment to objects in hoarding require further conceptual development and associated testing.

Keywords: emotional attachment, object attachment, acquisitiveness, collecting, object-affect fusion

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