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The capacity to exert control over one's behavior is known as self-control and this ability to self-regulate is a necessary component for directing personal behavior toward achieving a specific goal. Self-regulation operates within a resource model, and inherent in this framework is the ability for an individual to practice self-control and to strengthen this resource. The phenomenon of self-control has a number of implications, which include the association between a lack of self-control and various forms of psychopathology. Compulsive hoarding is one phenomenon wherein self-control may play a substantial role. Within a translational research framework, this investigation sought to extend the study of self-control to (1) a sub-clinical hoarding population, and (2) to determine if practicing self-control in a non-OCD/hoarding related domain might have an impact on an individual's ability to resist saving behaviors. Study 1 utilized a multi-method approach and revealed that lower levels of self-control were robustly linked to greater hoarding symptoms. We furthermore found that depleting levels of self-control lead to a direct, subsequent increase in saving behaviors on a behavioral index of hoarding. Study 2 examined the effects of self-control practice on hoarding symptoms. We found that participants in the practice condition saved less items than those in the non-practice condition at Time 2. The implications of self-regulation for hoarding will be discussed from a vulnerability standpoint, as well as a treatment perspective.
Hoarding Vulnerability, Self-Control Practice Condition, Behavioral Index of Hoarding, Self-Regulation, Hoarding
Date of Defense
May 22, 2009.
A Dissertation Submitted to the Department of Psychology in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Florida State University
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