Friday, October 12, 2012

In a 1999 study of older adults, fear of public speaking ranked only twelfth

In my previous post I discussed results on college students from the 51-item Fear Survey Schedule II (FSS-II) developed  by James H. Geer back in 1965. In that post I also mentioned other fear survey schedules for children. There also has been another 62-item scale developed for older adults (FSS-II OA) by Jane Null Kogan. She described it in 2004 in an article written with Barry A. Edelstein in Anxiety Disorders magazine titled Modification and psychometric examination of a self-report measure of fear in older adults. You can read an abstract here. That article was based on her 1999 PhD thesis at West Virginia University, which can be found here.  

As with the FSS-II people were asked to rank the intensity level of their fears from one to seven where:

1 = None
2 = Very Little
3 = A Little
4 = Some
5 = Much
6 = Very Much
7 = Terror

Column 3 of Table 4 in her thesis presented results from her second study of 114 older adults in West Virginia, with ages ranging from 60 to 88. 95% of them were Caucasian.

A bar chart shown above list their mean scores on the top twenty fears. (Click on it to see a larger, clearer version). Death of a loved one was the top fear. Speaking before a group was twelfth, which isn’t exactly top of mind.

Other fears between these two were being a burden to others, illness or injury to loved ones, inability to care for self, poor well-being of loved ones, roller coasters, deep water, losing sight, being physically disabled, diminished health, and snakes.

Another bar charts lists all of the results. The two lowest fears were arguing with parents and cemeteries.

The image of Van Gogh’s painting Old Man in Sorrow came from Wikimedia Commons.

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