Wednesday, October 17, 2012

In a 2000 study of adults in Greece, fear of public speaking wasn’t ranked in the top ten

On October 13th I discussed an article from 1992 about fears of U.S. university students that used the Fear Survey Schedule III. On October 14th I discussed another article from 1994 about how that schedule had been translated into Arabic and given to Egyptian university students. Today I’ll discuss another translation of that schedule into Greek. 

In 2000 Robert Mellon published an article in the Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment titled A Greek Language Inventory of Fears: Psychometric Properties and Factor Structure of Self-Reports of Fears on the Hellenic Fear Survey Schedule. You can read the abstract and first page here. He gave that Hellenic Fear Survey to 696 adults in Greece (376 females, and 320 males). People were asked to rank the intensity level of their fears on a scale going from zero (no fear) to four (very much fear).

Two bar charts shown above compare the top ten fears for residents of cities with those for residents of towns and villages. (Click on them to see larger, clearer versions). Becoming mentally ill was the top fear in both locations. Speaking in public was not in the top ten. There were different rankings, but the same ten fears (in alphabetical order) that were:

Becoming mentally ill
Dead people,
Feeling disapproved of
Feeling rejected by others
Looking foolish
Losing control
Parting from friends
Possible surgery
Witness surgery

Another pair of bar charts list the mean scores on the top ten fears for females and males. Becoming mentally ill was the top fear for both sexes. For females possible surgery came second, while for males looking foolish came second. For females looking foolish was third, while for males failure was.  Speaking in public was not in the top ten for either females or males. Nine of ten fears were common to both sexes. Listed in alphabetical order these were: becoming mentally ill, dead people, failure, feeling disapproved of, feeling rejected by others, looking foolish, losing control, parting from friends, and possible surgery. For females the tenth fear was to witness surgery, while for males it was making mistakes was.

Two more bar charts compare the top 20 results for females and males found by Klieger (for U.S. university students) with these for Greek adults. Fears are listed in the order found by Klieger, except that becoming mentally ill (which wasn’t in the top twenty) was added to the top of the list for females. Note that for male U.S. university students fear of becoming mentally ill was ranked eighteenth, while for Greek adults it was ranked first. For U.S. university students, fear of public speaking was ranked sixth for men and eighth for women - while for Greek adults it wasn’t even in the top ten.

A topographic map of Greece came from Wikimedia Commons.

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