• Bojana Dinić Department of Psychology, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Novi Sad
  • Bojana Bodroža Department of Psychology, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Novi Sad
Keywords: stockpiling, selfishness, prosocial tendencies, fear, the COVID-19 pandemic


Stockpiling during a crisis is usually seen as a response to experienced fear or as a form of social behavior. This study aimed to explore the effects of personality traits linked to antisociality (selfishness) and prosociality (prosocial tendencies) and the context-related state factor (fear related to the pandemic) on stockpiling during the COVID-19 pandemic. The final sample included 545 participants (77.6% females) from Serbia. During the proclaimed emergency state and curfew in March and April 2020, data were collected on three aspects of selfishness (adaptive, egocentric, and pathological), six types of prosocial tendencies (altruism, dire, compliant, emotional, public, and anonymous), and the state of fear related to the pandemic. First, the results showed that gender, age, and educational level were not related to stockpiling, while household size positively correlated with stockpiling. Second, the results showed that adaptive and pathological selfishness as well as the public prosocial tendency showed low positive correlations with stockpiling, while altruism showed a low negative correlation. The obtained correlations held even when household size was controlled for. However, in the regression analysis, only adaptive selfishness showed a small but significant effect on stockpiling, over and above household size. In sum, the results showed that fear related to the pandemic was not associated with stockpiling, indicating that stockpiling could be seen as a form of selfish behavior.


Arafat, S. M. Y., Kar, S. K., Menon, V., Marthoenis, M., Sharma, P., Alradie-Mohamed, A., Mukherjee, S., Kaliamoorthy, C., & Kabir, R. (2020a). Media portrayal of panic buying: A content analysis of online news portals. Global Psychiatry, 3, 249–254. https://doi.org/10.2478/gp-2020-0022

Arafat, S. M. Y., Kar, S. K., Marthoenis, M., Sharma, P., Apu, E. H., & Kabir, R. (2020b). Psychological underpinning of panic buying during pandemic (COVID-19). Psychiatry Research, 289, 113061. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2020.113061

Ashton, M. C., & Lee, K. (2007). Empirical, theoretical, and practical advantages of the HEXACO model of personality structure. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 11(2), 150–166. https://doi.org/10.1177/1088868306294907

Bankar (2020). Trgovci dobitnici tokom krize – Maloprodajni lanci beleže rast prodaje od oko 60 odsto! [Merchants during the crisis - Retail chains recorded sales growth of about 60 percent!]. Retreived from https://bankar.rs/2020/04/04/trgovci-dobitnici-tokom-krize-maloprodajni-lanci-beleze-rast-prodaje-od-oko-60-odsto/

Brizi, A., & Biraglia, A. (2021). "Do I have enough food?" How need for cognitive closure and gender impact stockpiling and food waste during the COVID-19 pandemic: A cross-national study in India and the United States of America. Personality and Individual Differences, 168, 110396. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2020.110396

Cao, S., Qi, Y., Huang, Q., Wang, Y., Han, X., Liu, X., & Wu, H. (2020). Emerging infectious outbreak inhibits pain empathy mediated prosocial behaviour. PsyArXiv Preprints. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/5p8kd

Carlo, G., & Randall, B. A. (2002). The development of a measure of prosocial behaviors for late adolescents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 31(1), 31–44. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1014033032440

Columbus, S. (2020). Honesty-Humility, beliefs, and prosocial behaviour: A test on stockpiling during the COVID-19 pandemic. PsyArXiv Preprints. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/8e62v

Cyprzanska, M., & Neylek, J. B. (2020). Anxiety as a mediator of relationships between perceptions of the threat of COVID-19 and coping behaviors during the onset of the pandemic in Poland. PloS ONE, 15(10), e0241464. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0241464

Dammeyer, J. (2020). An explorative study of the individual differences associated with consumer stockpiling during the early stages of the 2020 Coronavirus outbreak in Europe. Personality and Individual Differences, 167, 110263. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2020.110263.

Diebels, K. J., Leary, M. R., & Chon, D. (2018). Individual Differences in Selfishness as a Major Dimension of Personality: A Reinterpretation of the Sixth Personality Factor. Review of General Psychology, 22(4), 367–376. https://doi.org/10.1037/gpr0000155

Garbe, L., Rau, R., & Toppe, T. (2020) Influence of perceived threat of Covid-19 and HEXACO personality traits on toilet paper stockpiling. PLoS ONE, 15(6), e0234232. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0234232

Hodson, G., Book, A., Visser, B. A., Volk, A. A., Ashton, M. C., & Lee, K. (2017). Is the Dark Triad common factor distinct from low Honesty-Humility? Journal of Research in Personality, 73, 123–129. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2017.11.012

Knotek II, E. S., Shoenle, R. S., Dietrich, A. M., Müller, G. I., Myrseth. K. O. R., & Weber, M. (2020). Consumers and COVID-19: Survey results on mask-wearing behaviors and beliefs. Economic Commentary, 20, 1–7. https://doi.org/10.26509/frbc-ec-202020

Kulemeka, O. (2010). Us Consumers and Disaster: Observing “Panic Buying” During the Winter Storm and Hurricane Seasons". In M. C. Campbell, R., J. Inman, & R. Pieters (Eds.), NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37 (pp. 837–838). Association for Consumer Research.

Lebowitz, M. S., Tabb, K., & Appelbaum, P. S. (2019). Asymmetrical genetic attributions for prosocial versus antisocial behaviour. Nature Human Behavior, 3, 940–949. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-019-0651-1

Micalizzi, L., Zambrotta, N. S., & Bernstein, M. H. (2020). Stockpiling in the time of COVID‐19. British Journal of Health Psychology (Early View). https://doi.org/10.1111/bjhp.12480

Mihić, LJ., Novović, Z., Čolović, P., & Smederevac, S. (2014). Serbian adaptation of the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS): Its facets and second–order structure. Psihologija, 47(4), 393–414. https://doi.org/10.2298/PSI1404393M

Nowak, B., Brzóska, P., Piotrowski, J., Sedikides, C., Żemojtel-Piotrowska, M., & Jonason, P. K. (2020). Adaptive and maladaptive behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic: The roles of Dark Triad traits, collective narcissism, and health beliefs. Personality and Individual Differences, 167, 110232. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2020.110232

Raine, A., & Uh, S. (2019). The selfishness questionnaire: Egocentric, adaptive, and pathological forms of selfishness. Journal of Personality Assessment, 101(5), 503–514. https://doi.org/10.1080/00223891.2018.1455692

Rajkumar, R. P. (2020). COVID-19 and mental health: A review of the existing literature. Asian Journal of Psychiatry, 52, 102066. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajp.2020.102066

Rodrigues, J., Ulrich, N., Mussel, P., Carlo, G., & Hewig, J. (2017). Measuring Prosocial Tendencies in Germany: Sources of Validity and Reliablity of the Revised Prosocial Tendency Measure. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 2119. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.02119

Salari, N., Hosseinian-Far, A., Jalali, R., Vaisi-Raygani, A., Rasoulpoor, S., Mohammadi. M., Rasoulpoor, S., & Khaledi-Paveh, B. (2020). Prevalence of stress, anxiety, depression among the general population during the COVID-19 pandemic: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Global Health, 16, Article No. 57. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12992-020-00589-w

Sterman, J. D., & Dogan, G. (2015). “I’m not hoarding, I’m just stocking up before the hoarders get here.”: Behavioral causes of phantom ordering in supply chains. Journal of Operations Management, 39–40, 6–22. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jom.2015.07.002.

Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (2013). Using multivariate statistics (6th edition). Pearson/Allyn & Bacon.

Watson, D., Clark, L. A., & Tellegen, A. (1988). Development and validation of brief measures of positive and negative affect: The PANAS scales. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54(6), 1063–1070. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022–3514.54.6.1063

Wertag, A., Ribar, M., & Bratko, D. (2018). The relations of basic and dark personality traits with prosocial tendencies: Exploring gender diffrences. Psihološka istraživanja, XXI(2), 201–216. https://doi.org/10.5937/PSISTRA21-19012

Yuen, K. F., Wang, X., Ma, F., & Li, K. X. (2020). The Psychological Causes of Panic Buying Following a Health Crisis. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(10), 3513. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17103513

Zettler, I., Schild, C., Lilleholt, L., Kroencke, L., Utesch, T., Moshagen, M., Böhm, R., Back, M. D., & Geukes, K. (2020). The role of personality in COVID-19 related perceptions, evaluations, and behaviors: Findings across five samples, nine traits, and 17 criteria. PsyArXiv Preprints. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/pkm2a
16. 04. 2021.