“My precious… toilet paper”: stockpiling during the COVID-19 pandemic is related to selfishness, but not to fear
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.
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