The Top Five Things Americans Fear The Most

The first is so simple it’s surprising

The number one fear in America today is walking alone at night.

The Chapman Survey on American Fears included 1,500 participants from across the nation and all walks of life. Covering four basic categories: personal fears, crime, natural disasters and fear factors, the participants ranked what’s most scary.

The survey shows that the top five things Americans fear the most are:

1)     Walking alone at night

2)     Becoming the victim of identity theft

3)     Safety on the internet

4)     Being the victim of a mass/random shooting

5)     Public speaking

“What initially lead us into this line of research was our desire to capture this information on a year-over-year basis so we can draw comparisons with what items are increasing in fear as well as decreasing,” says Dr. Christopher Bader, who led the team effort. 

“What we found when we asked a series of questions pertaining to fears of various crimes is that a majority of Americans not only fear crimes such as, child abduction, gang violence, sexual assaults and others; but they also believe these crimes (and others) have increased over the past 20 years,” says Dr. Edward Day. “When we looked at statistical data from police and FBI records, it showed crime has actually decreased in America in the past 20 years.”

These fears appear to be more physical-based—as opposed to fear of failure, fear of success, and other deep psychological fears we often talk about.

The top five things Americans worry about or are concerned about are:

1)     Having identity stolen on the internet

2)     Corporate surveillance of internet activity

3)     Running out of money in the future

4)     Government surveillance of internet activity

5)     Becoming ill/sick

Fear Factors

“We were able to determine what types of people tend to fear certain things, and what personal characteristics tend to be associated with most types of fear,” says Dr. Christopher Bader. His team looked at: age, gender, race, work status, education, income, region of the country, urban vs. rural, political preference, religion, TV viewing, and gun ownership.

Through their analysis two key factors emerged: having a lower level of education and also high frequency of television viewing were the most consistent predictors of fear.

Facing Fear

Are any of these fears your fears? Can you combat any of them with education—the crime rate IS going down, after all—and awareness?

Image: Some rights reserved by Billie Ward 

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