The potential benefits of colour in supporting people with compulsive hoarding disorder
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The potential benefits of colour in supporting people with compulsive hoarding disorder

Colin Jones Senior lecturer/researcher, Liverpool John Moors University, Faculty of Health Education and Community
Satwant Singh Nurse consultant mental health and CBT, Wordsworth Health Centre, London

Colin Jones and Satwant Singh present the findings of a preliminary study which indicate that colour can help motivate some people with this syndrome to declutter

Public health officials are beginning to recognise the significance of compulsive hoarding disorder. As clutter accumulates and obliterates living space, the world of the compulsive hoarder can become drab, dull and achromatic.

Many people with the condition report having difficulties finding important items such as passports and other documents that become submerged under piles of hoarded material.

Using an exploratory cross-sectional survey design, a volunteer sample of 15 members of a national hoarding therapy group was recruited. Participants were asked to take home sheets of coloured fluorescent card (colour markers) and use them to assist in defining or influencing their home environment. The purpose of the study was to explore what potential benefit colour may have on the environment and also the psycho-emotional benefits of colour for the person with the disorder.

The study concluded that both the choice of colour and the way in which the colour marker was used appeared motivationally beneficial and served to inspire attempts at reducing or removing clutter.

Mental Health Practice. 18, 3, 29-32. doi: 10.7748/mhp.18.3.29.e951


Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 11 November 2013

Accepted: 17 February 2014

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