Self-ambivalence and attachment to possessions

Randy O. Frost, Michael Kyrios, Katherine D. McCarthy, Yanique Matthews

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


Doron and Kyrios (2005) have suggested that self-related constructs may be vulnerability factors for the development of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and associated cognitions, possibly including compulsive buying, hoarding, and materialism. The present study examined the relationship between self-related constructs (self-ambivalence and attachment uncertainty), compulsive acquisition, hoarding, and materialism. As predicted, self-ambivalence and uncertainty were correlated with materialism, compulsive hoarding, and compulsive buying, while compulsive acquisition of free things was correlated with uncertainty. Furthermore, self-ambivalence accounted for significant variance in all three possession-related variables even after controlling for depression and indecisiveness. Uncertainty accounted for significant variance in the compulsive acquisition of free things. Materialism exhibited high to moderate correlations with compulsive buying but low to moderate correlations with compulsive hoarding and no association with free acquisition. Lack of family warmth failed to correlate with acquisition variables but did correlate with depression. Overall, the findings supported the contribution of self-ambivalence and attachment patterns but not early family environment to the understanding of compulsive acquisition, particularly hoarding and buying problems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)232-242
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cognitive Psychotherapy: An International Quarterly
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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