PY0571 - The Psychology of Hoarding Behaviours

What will I learn on this module?

On this module you will be introduced to Hoarding Disorder (HD) and its clinical and non-clinical manifestations. You will explore the developmental, environmental and psychological characteristics associated with HD and critically evaluate the various theories accounting for HD. You will explore the differing therapeutic interventions and evaluate their clinical effectiveness. This module will also provide you with opportunities to engage with various professionals who routinely engage with individuals exhibiting HD in their working life, and reflect on the case studies that they will be describing. The module content is structured so that you will be introduced to HD, explore its key characteristics and then evaluate the various theories for its establishment and maintenance. This knowledge will then able you to better reflect on the case studies presented by professionals.

How will I learn on this module?

You will attend a series of two-hour interactive lectures. These lectures will provide the basic framework for syllabus topics. The interactive elements will involve discussion about key, topical research papers, debates and group discussions regarding particular topic areas introduced in the taught sessions. The aim of the interactive lectures is to consolidate information learnt through independent reading and to encourage you to apply your knowledge in a problem-based learning situation. The opportunity for group discussion will enable you to communicate your ideas and findings in a group setting, showing sensitivity to the perspectives of others. Directed study will be encouraged through the provision of reading lists, which will serve as a basis for further, independent study. This will be further encouraged through the provision of study questions and topics. Independent learning skills and reflection on the role and value of those skills will prepare you for career development learning. Together, the learning strategies of interactive lectures, workshops, seminars directed and independent study aim to develop conceptual knowledge of the topic area and illustrate the range of paradigms and methods that can be used to investigate it.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

You will be supported through the use of the e-learning Portal resources (Blackboard), which give access to lecture and workshop materials (PowerPoint slides, Panopto recordings, hand-outs, reading lists, guide books and templates). Examples of materials and web links to relevant sources will also be accessible via the Blackboard site. There will also be an online discussion board, to discuss points of interest amongst other students as well as tutors and engage in shared discussion of course materials and issues. Technology enabled learning will be implemented throughout through the use of lecture recordings (Panopto). Tutorials will be available to provide an opportunity for students to discuss issues related to the module with the module leader.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
• MK1: You will be able to critically evaluate the dominant approaches to the development, maintenance and treatment of Hoarding Disorder (HD).
• MK2: You will be able to demonstrate the ability to apply practical and theoretical knowledge in understanding HD.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:

• MIP1: You will develop your skills in analysing different theoretical frameworks. It is important for employability to be able to critically evaluate approaches, based on the best available evidence and research.

• MIP21: You will develop the skills to take charge of your own career development learning, through critical self-evaluation and reflection on the relevance of the module for career enhancement and future learning.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
• MPV1: You will develop and reinforce the characteristics of a Northumbria graduate by building research skills to contribute to knowledge generation and dissemination, demonstrating awareness of ethical principles

How will I be assessed?

Formative Assessment:
This will take place through discussion/observation-based tasks with the module tutor and with peers where you will consider questions, case studies presentations, and presentations relating to the discussed topics (MK1; MK2; MIP1; MPV1).

Summative Assessment:
The assessment consists of two individual pieces of work:
1. A written assignment (maximum 3000 words) that requires you to offer an explanation of HD to a non-scientific (lay audience) in the form of an information leaflet suitable for a professional/healthcare/clinical setting (MK1, MK2, MIP1, MPV1) This assessment is worth 90% of the module mark.

2. The second assessment is a self-reflective account in which you will be asked to consider how this module has influenced your employability and future career). This will be worth 10% of the module mark (500 words ). (MIP2)

For formative assessments, the module tutor will provide immediate verbal feedback in addition to peer feedback provided through discussion in group activities.
For the first summative assessment, individual feedback will be provided on the electronic submission. This will be in the form of a level-specific rubric and written comments

General feedback will be provided via the eLearning Portal.

For the second summative assessment feedback will be provided by your Personal Tutor





Module abstract

The aim of this module is to provide you with an in-depth theoretical appraisal of hoarding disorder. Due to the high economic and social costs of hoarding behaviours, there is an urgent need for improved understanding of the causes and consequences, and for high-quality multi-disciplinary research to devise individually tailored intervention strategies to reduce its impact, both economically and socially. Through lectures, ‘real-life’ case-study and input from professionals who work with individuals who hoard, you will develop an understanding of the complex nature of hoarding disorder. You will explore the range of factors that are associated with hoarding, ranging from clinical and psychological factors to developmental and environmental factors. Moreover, the module will help you obtain a broad knowledge of issues related to mental health, and of professional services dealing with this disorder that will be beneficial for future studies and career choices.

Course info

UCAS Code C800

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years Full Time or 4 years with optional study abroad year

Department Psychology

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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