Saturday, October 17, 2015
Fears from Daily Life in the 2015 Chapman Survey of American Fears
In my last post on Thursday I began to discuss results from the 2015 Chapman Survey of American Fears, and looked at the Personal Anxieties Domain. Today I’m going to look at the Daily Life Domain, which has the following eight fears based on the questions [and summarized as shown in the blog post list]:
Being laughed at [Ridicule]
Expressing your opinion [Expressing opinion]
Not being taken seriously [Dismissed by others]
Others talking about you behind your back [Gossip]
Talking to strangers
Walking alone at night
Results from these questions can be summarized via Fear Scores, which are briefly mentioned in the Chapman blog post but only for Averages. That views the survey as another Fear Survey Schedule, a topic I last discussed on April 25th in a blog post titled Is public speaking by far the scariest thing that people face? Even more than death? No, it is not. A fear score describes what people fear most, rather than what most people fear.
The score can be calculated from the Valid Percent answers for each question tabulated in the codebook of Detailed Results on pages 28 and 37 through 39. The formula apparently simply is:
Fear Score = [ 1x(% for Not Afraid)
+ 2x(% for Slightly Afraid) + 3x(% for Afraid)
+ 4x(% for Very Afraid)]/100
The first bar chart shows the Fear Scores for this domain. (Click on it to see a larger, clearer view). The Domain mean is a rather low 1.51, or halfway between Not Afraid and Slightly Afraid. Walking alone at night (1.70) was 1st, Dying alone (1.63) was 2nd, Dismissed by others (1.54) was 3rd, Talking to strangers (1.47) was 4th, Ridicule (1.46) was 5th, Gossip (1.44) was 6th, Romantic rejection (1.43) was 7th, and Expressing your opinion (1.41) was 8th.
The second bar chart shows detailed results for Very Afraid. Walking alone at night (6.9%) was 1st, Dying alone (6.1%) was 2nd, Romantic rejection (4.5%) was 3rd, Dismissed by others (3.2%) was 4th, Gossip (3.1%) was 5th, Ridicule (2.7%) was 6th, Talking to strangers (2.3%) was 7th, and Expressing your opinion (1.8%) was 8th.
A third bar chart shows results for Afraid. Dying alone (10.7%) was 1st, Walking alone at night (9.5%) was 2nd, Dismissed by others (9.3%) was 3rd, Ridicule (7.9%) was 4th, Talking to strangers (7.4%) was 5th, Gossip (6.5%) was 6th, Expressing your opinion (6.3%) was 7th, and Romantic rejection (5.9%) was 8th.
A fourth bar chart shows results for the sum of Very Afraid and Afraid, which is what was shown in the blog post total list. You would not expect it to give the same ranking as the Average Fear Scores, since it uses just two of the four percentages. Dying alone (16.8%) was 1st, Walking alone at night (16.4%) was 2nd, Dismissed by others (12.5%) was 3rd, Ridicule (10.6%) was 4th, Romantic rejection (10.4%) was 5th, Talking to strangers (9.7%) was 6th, Gossip (9.5%) was 7th, and Expressing your opinion (6.3%) was 8th.
A fifth bar chart shows results for Slightly Afraid. Walking alone at night (30.3%) was 1st, Dismissed by others (25.6%) was 2nd, Talking to strangers (25.5%) was 3rd and just slightly smaller, Dying alone (23.7%) was 4th, Expressing your opinion (22.8%) was 5th, Ridicule (22.0%) was 6th, Gossip (21.6%) was 7th, and Romantic rejection (17.7%) was 8th.
A sixth bar chart shows results for the sum of Slightly Afraid, Afraid, and Very Afraid. Adding in the relatively large Slightly Afraid category (about 18% to 30%) produces impressively large percentages. Walking alone at night (46.7%) was 1st, Dying alone (40.5%) was 2nd, Dismissed by others (38.1%) was 3rd, Talking to strangers (35.1%) was 4th, Ridicule (32.6%) was 5th, Gossip (31.2%) was 6th, Expressing your opinion (30.9%) was 7th, and Romantic rejection (28.1%) was 8th.
Walking alone at night came first in the Fear Scores and percentages in three of the five charts shown above. In the total list presented in the blog post it ranked 57th out of 88 fears. How similar was that to its ranking in the 2014 survey. In the 2014 survey it ranked 1st! In this year’s press release, the 2nd paragraph under Methodology warns that:
“The researchers continue to improve the survey as its results and continuing interviews provide more information about fear, as well as how best to collect fear-based information. The second wave of the survey modified question wording such that all questions about fear use the same response categories: “Very afraid,” “Afraid,” “Slightly afraid,” and “Not afraid.” Consequently a comparison of fears between 2014 and 2015 should not be conducted without consultation with the researchers, who can explain the proper method for conducting comparisons across waves.”
The proper method for conducting comparisons between the two surveys is not to, unless the form of questions was the same. For Walking alone at night they were different. So as I pointed out last year in my first blog post titled What do the most Americans fear? The Chapman Survey on American Fears and the press release copying reflex, it’s like comparing bananas with blueberries.
The seventh bar chart shown above compares the results for those two questions. Changing the form from asking How safe do you feel? to How afraid are you? led to dramatically different percentages for those four different categories.
An image of a farmer’s boy from 1907 came from Wikimedia Commons.