Panic buying in the community as a coping strategy in response to COVID-19

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Panic buying was widespread during the early phase of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United Kingdom (UK) and elsewhere. Drawing on identity process theory, this study explores thr psychological motivations for engaging in panic buying behaviors in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in London, United Kingdom. Fifteen people participated in an interview study concerning the impact of the outbreak on their buying behaviors. The qualitative data were analyzed using thematic analysis. The analysis yielded three themes: (1) COVID-19 as a threat to continuity and self-efficacy; (2) Buying to resist change; and (3) Buying to restore self-efficacy. The results suggest that COVID-19 and the measures put in place to control it may have potentially deleterious effects for the continuity and self-efficacy principles of identity, which in turn may lead to the maladaptive coping strategy of panic buying. In order to manage the pandemic effectively, it will be necessary to promote more adaptive and sustainable coping strategies to reduce the risk of engagement in panic buying. More specifically, building identity resilience and facilitating access to social support should be important foci for health and wellbeing interventions in the general population.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-10
JournalHealth Psychology Update
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Panic buying in the community as a coping strategy in response to COVID-19'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this