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Research Links Personality Traits to Toilet Paper Stockpiling

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 People who feel more threatened by COVID-19 and rank highly on scales of emotionality and conscientiousness were most likely to stockpile toilet paper in March 2020, according to a new study published June 12, 2020 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Lisa Garbe (University of Saint Gallen, Switzerland), Richard Rau (Westfalische Wilhelms-Universitat Munster, Germany), and Theo Toppe (the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Germany).
Credit: Nori Blume

Following the fast spread of COVID-19 across Europe and North America in March 2020, many people began stockpiling commodities including toilet paper. Some companies reported an increase of up to 700% in toiled paper sales, despite calls from the government to refrain from “panic buying.”

In the new study, researchers surveyed 1,029 adults from 35 countries who were recruited through social media. Between March 23 and March 29, 2020, participants completed the Brief HEXACO Inventory–which ranks six broad personality domains–and shared information on their demographics, perceived threat level of COVID-19, quarantine behaviors, and toilet paper consumption in recent weeks.

The most robust predictor of toilet paper stockpiling was the perceived threat posed by the pandemic; people who felt more threatened tended to stockpile more toilet paper. Partly, this effect was based on the personality factor of emotionality–people who generally tend to worry a lot and feel anxious are more likely to feel threatened and stockpile toilet paper. The personality domain of conscientiousness–which includes traits of organization, diligence, perfectionism and prudence–was also a predictor of stockpiling (p = .048). Other observations were that older people stockpiled more toilet paper than younger people and that Americans stockpiled more than Europeans. The researchers pointed out that the variables studied explained only 12% of the variability in toilet paper stockpiling, which suggests that some psychological explanations and situational factors likely remain unaccounted for.

The authors add: “Subjective threat of COVID-19 seems to be an important trigger for toilet paper stockpiling. However, we are still far away from understanding this phenomenon comprehensively.”

Contacts and sources:
Theo Toppe


 Publication:  Influence of perceived threat of Covid-19 and HEXACO personality traits on toilet paper stockpiling. Garbe L, Rau R, Toppe T (2020) PLoS ONE 15(6): e0234232.  The article is freely available.




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    Total 5 comments
    • Justin Case

      I find it amazing that people stockpiled toilet paper, but not food and water…

    • pattern is prologue

      First They Came For The Oil, Then The Water, Now They Say The Sand Is Being Depleted | Scarcity As A Weapon | Science and Technology

    • C.C. Forche

      The reason there was toilet paper panic buying is because China produces over 95% of it. There are only a couple boutique brands made in the USA and they are on the west coast. They were wiped out of inventory early on as the beginning activity with COVID in the USA was in Seattle,Oregon,California etc. China was down to producing 5% of their GDP and needed their products for their own citizens. China turned around 2 container ships midway to USA stating their own citizens needed theses items. The supply chain was devastated. China also produced medical masks, tubing etc. as we saw extreme shortages in those too. Even if something is made in USA, the bottle/packaging or raw materials can come from China. I find it interesting that people don’t understand that the MOST DISPOSABLE necessary product (aka toilet paper) that we use was threatened by supply chain disruption. It was caused by COVID, but it is because China makes so much of it and they were hit first.

    • YellowRoseTx51

      This is propaganda. The people were triggered by a broadcast. Pelosi wore the earings after, to warn she had control and could do it again.
      She cant now.
      They put out bs like this to make you think its humans that are the problem, and it had nothing to do with another set up by the pedovores fighting back.

    • DON ROBER>to

      ["what a nice article to read and to smile, but the answer is so easy :

      Nobody wants to get their fingers dirty in this worldwide staged wholesale business of senseless overproduction and waste of resources around which the war of commercial privatisation is about, especially when the toilet session cannot take place as usual and educated by deliberately switched by private commercial company floors, the NGO executive boards by lockdowns, shutdowns, STAY HOME rules of procedure. Panic was and is planning, because big business for the daily small business, which in some countries is even done standing. Some even hoarded daily newspapers instead.

      And in former times, there was the washcloth, the self-knitted one, but who learns this important also the blue senseless face coverings and blue plastic gloves. Especially the hundreds of thousands of poisonous disinfectants in blue spray bottles, whose warnings are read over so small on the back and are deliberately forgotten by the posters and pamphlets to indicate that...also these are pre-produced and designed, so are the consequences of this.

      This whole Plandemic-panicShow has been pre-calculated by Chimerica business crooks, pre-produced by gigantic investment programs, with 666% profit expectation promises which have all been exceeded. And what is the next super fraud of deception: When 2.2 billion vaccine doses are forcedly vaccinated with the 5GChip and the company's goal is: 7.7 billion vaccine chip doses. The profit expectations go into the Trillions, paid by private or insurances Dollars, picked up out of the pocket of the betryed people, in whose hands at whose expense and from the side effects and the risks that have already occurred, which have long since been put down on paper and as a sworn promise warmly shoved under the buttocks of the investors and owners of the big industry and its networks. Probably the one who has the right protective paper for so much shit, so lifelike documents according to their oldfashioned standard and form, blue ink, one Dollar-stamp , no thanks, here are the effective human rights with seal and thumbprint. Business refused. No touching. With that, you can relaxed enjoy with a good book, your next private small business. "]

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