Hoarding Supplies… And Feelings: New Study Indicates That A Hoard Mentality During A Crisis Does Not Dispel Fear And Stress

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A new study conducted by PsychTests.com reveals that people who believe hoarding food and supplies is the way to survive a pandemic are, in fact, no better off than those who don’t, at least on an emotional level.

Stockpiling supplies won’t reduce fear and anxiety during a crisis.

The act of stockpiling during a crisis is unlikely to reduce a hoarder’s stress or anxiety.

In reality, all hoarding does is generate more fear in yourself and others, and causes the very shortage hoarders worry about.

The secret of surviving a pandemic with one’s sanity intact does not lie in the cashmere folds of hundreds of rolls of toilet paper. Yet, it was the first product to disappear off the shelves when the COVID-19 crisis began. The idea of hoarding seems sensible in theory. The more you have stockpiled, the less need to venture out, the longer you can “survive”. However, does all this doomsday-like preparation offer any sense of comfort? Not entirely, reports researchers at PsychTests.com.

Analyzing data from 2,571 people who PsychTests’ Pandemic Resilience Test, researchers evaluated the mental state of people with a hoard mentality to non-hoarders. Here’s what the data revealed:

MENTAL HEALTH STRUGGLES

  • 26% of Hoarders are struggling with major to severe stress, compared to 16% of Non-hoarders.
  • 36% of Hoarders have found themselves ruminating more, compared to 27% of Non-hoarders.
  • 30% of Hoarders are experiencing anxiety or panic, compared to 23% of Non-hoarders.
  • 53% of Hoarders are worried about their job and/or finances, compared to 40% of Non-hoarders.
  • 30% of Hoarders are paranoid about getting sick, or experiencing somatization/hypochondria, compared to 11% of Non-hoarders.
  • 33% of Hoarders are experiencing profound sadness, compared to 25% of Non-hoarders.

ATTITUDE TOWARDS COVID-19

  • 61% of Hoarders accept that there are many unknowns surrounding the COVID-19 virus, but are coping with the ambiguity fairly well, compared to 66% of Non-hoarders.
  • 65% of Hoarders believe that if they take precautions, like washing their hands and keeping a social distance, they can keep themselves safe, compared to 73% of Non-hoarders.
  • 33% of Hoarders believe that there is no reason for an infected person to self-isolate if they are asymptomatic, compared to 3% of Non-hoarders.
  • Along the same lines, 30% of Hoarders believe that there is no reason for an infected person to self-isolate if they are young and healthy, compared to 3% of Non-hoarders.
  • 67% of Hoarders believe that health is far more valuable than wealth, especially at this time, compared to 83% of Non-hoarders.
  • 44% of Hoarders believe that information about the virus that is posted on social media should be taken with “a grain of salt,” compared to 60% of Non-hoarders.

DEALING WITH FALLOUT OF THE PANDEMIC

  • 53% of Hoarders believe that the economy will pick up as soon as the pandemic is over, compared to 62% of Non-hoarders.
  • 65% of Hoarders believe that the current circumstances will teach us how to deal with pandemics in the future, compared to 79% of Non-hoarders.
  • 64% of Hoarders said that they have been doing their best to help friends and family, and to be neighborly, compared to 74% of Non-hoarders.
  • 32% of Hoarders believe this pandemic is a sign of the end of the world, and that humanity is doomed, compared to 2% of Non-hoarders.

COPING STRATEGIES

  • 53% of Hoarders are taking time to relax and unwind, compared to 60% of Non-hoarders.
  • 70% of Hoarders are revising their routines, making adjustments, and said they are adapting the best they can, given the circumstances, compared to 76% of Non-hoarders.
  • 62% of Hoarders said that they striving to keep the current circumstances in perspective, compared to 71% of Non-hoarders.
  • 65% of Hoarders said that they regularly remind themselves that things will eventually get better, compared to 72% of Non-hoarders.
  • 62% of Hoarders have an outlet to relieve their stress, such as exercise, mediation, mindfulness, or talking things out, compared to 72% of Non-hoarders.

THE COPING STRATEGIES WHERE HOARDERS CAME ON TOP:

  • 65% of Hoarders are using humor to get through this difficult time, compared to 62% of Non-hoarders.
  • 68% of Hoarders said that they are focusing on the good in their life instead of the bad, compared to 61% of Non-hoarders.
  • 64% of Hoarders said that in spite of everything that has happened, they are making it a point to look for the silver lining, compared to 63% of Non-hoarders.

“At the basis of a hoard mentality is almost always anxiety and fear,” explains Dr. Jerabek, president of PsychTests. “People think they are being cautious and practical when they stock up on resources, but if you’re amassing all this stuff because you think there might be a shortage, that’s unquestionably a fear-based action. In reality, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy … all it does is generate more fear in yourself and others, and causes the very shortage hoarders worry about. And it’s all for naught. Our study has shown that hoarding doesn’t reduce anxiety or stress, at least not completely - if anything, non-hoarders are in a slightly better state of mind than hoarders. Compound this with a crisis like the current pandemic, and you have the perfect storm.

“If you’re tempted to hoard, stop, and recognize the fear for what it is. Remind yourself that by stockpiling, you are doing yourself and others more harm than good. I know that it’s hard to fight the instinct for self-preseveration right now, but do your best to put your circumstances in perspective. This crisis will end. Do not allow fear to take over your mind and dictate your actions. Use your common sense and critical thinking skills. Now is not a time to panic, or to create panic.”

To schedule an interview with Dr. Jerabek, go here: https://calendly.com/ilonajerabek/30-min-meeting-with-dr-ilona-jerabek (30-min interview).

The free Pandemic Resilience Test can be taken from this link: https://testyourself.psychtests.com/testid/4106

This test is also available free of charge to all ARCH Profile clients (employers/companies, coaches, and therapists) who can offer it as a screening and personal development tool to employees and clients. Businesses can request a free demo for this or other assessments from ARCH Profile’s extensive battery here: http://hrtests.archprofile.com/testdrive_gen_1

To learn more about psychological testing, download this free eBook: http://hrtests.archprofile.com/personality-tests-in-hr

About PsychTests AIM Inc.
PsychTests AIM Inc. originally appeared on the internet scene in 1996. Since its inception, it has become a pre-eminent provider of psychological assessment products and services to human resource personnel, therapists, academics, researchers and a host of other professionals around the world. PsychTests AIM Inc. staff is comprised of a dedicated team of psychologists, test developers, researchers, statisticians, writers, and artificial intelligence experts (see ARCHProfile.com).

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Ilona Jerabek, Ph.D.
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