Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Ph.D. Doctor of Philosophy

Academic Discipline

Community Psychology

First Advisor

Bradley Olson, PhD

Second Advisor

Judah Viola, PhD

Third Advisor

Ericka Mingo, PhD


Hoarding is generally recognized as a pervasive need to acquire and retain items past the point of maintaining safe living spaces. Ushered into popular culture through television shows highlighting conflict, awareness of hoarding has increased. Experts report this condition affects 2-5% of the adult population, but this figure does not include children, family, neighbors, and community members (Buscher et al., 2013; Minor and Youth Children of Hoarding Parents, 2021). A unique feature of hoarding is the myriad of ways it is discovered.” People who hoard may keep conditions a secret due to a lack of awareness, concerns about forced remediation, or recognition of societal stigma. As a result, first responders, neighbors, or adult protective service professionals may be the first to report unsafe living conditions. A way to coordinate proactive approaches to address community responses to hoarding is to establish a hoarding task force. Task force members can connect through the shared purpose of improving community health rather than code enforcement violations. The quantitative survey for this mixed methods study evaluated factors influencing the operational culture of hoarding task forces and measured levels of stigma. Interviews with hoarding task force members, family, and people with lived experience explored involvement and approaches to services, expectations, treatment, and definitions of success. Results indicated viable hoarding task forces have a stated purpose, regular meetings, educational offerings, a health and safety assessment, and opportunities for wraparound services. Holistic approaches that consider readiness for change and offer separate support for family members were also valued.