Study: The Psychology Behind Toilet Paper Hoarders

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A new study has revealed the psychological makeup of the people who stockpiled toilet paper as the COVID-19 outbreak worsened.

The ‘Influence of perceived threat of Covid-19 and HEXACO personality traits on toilet paper stockpiling’ survey was conducted by the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.

It asked 1,029 adults from 35 countries to provide demographic information,  details on their toilet paper purchases during the last week of March and to fill out a psychological questionnaire.

According to the findings, it was those that were more anxious and fearful about the health threat that were more likely to purchase excess toilet paper.

“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”, said lead author of the study Theo Toppe.

People that scored high in emotionality were more likely to stockpile, as were people that were fearful, anxious, dependent and sentimental.

Additionally, those that were extremely conscientious and organised were also more likely to load up.

It was also revealed that older people stocked more toilet paper than younger people.

The study revealed some regional differences when it came to toilet paper purchasing.

Americans were more likely to stockpile than Europeans and went shopping for toilet paper less often, however, this can be attributed to larger packages in the US.


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