Monday, October 1, 2012

A web survey of social fears in people with social anxiety

On September 27, 2012 SL8804 posted a YouTube video that gave the results from a survey of social fears done at a web site having members with social anxiety. These people find life to be scarier than most people do. Members were asked:

“What social situations do you fear the most? Choose three options, out of ten options.”

He said that there were 619 voters, for a total of 1857 responses.

The first three columns of the table shown above list the situations, number of votes, and percents. (Click on it to see a larger, clearer version).  In the fourth column I recalculated the sample size based on the number and percent. That sample size seems to be about 539 rather than 619, so I recalculated the percentages (fifth column).

The bar chart shown above plots those ten results from the table. (Click on it for a larger, clearer version). Giving a speech was feared by the most people, 84.6%. That percentage was much larger than for any of the other nine situations (about 40% or less).

The percent of people who feared public speaking was much larger than typically is reported in surveys of the general public. But, it is similar to the percentages reported for people with social anxiety.

For example, in May I discussed how a survey found that Avoiding giving speeches is the most common social fear for Brazilian university students. The bar chart shown above compares data for 237 students having social anxiety (red) with 2082 students who did not have it (gray).

In October 2011 I discussed What’s the difference between a fear and a phobia? That article by Ruscio et al. also included results (shown above in a bar chart) for the prevalence of each fear among 1143 people who had lifetime social anxiety (orange) versus the total sample of 9282 people (yellow). The percentages for people with social anxiety were about five times those for the general public. 

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