Monday, February 22, 2016

Do you suffer from the heartbreak of scriptophobia?

Wikipedia defines scriptophobia as a fear of writing in public. On February 17th tween book author Elizabeth Atkinson posted on her web site about how it was An inconvenient phobia for her that interfered with doing book signings. She mentioned adapting to overcome it. Elizabeth called it a quirky phobia.

Scriptophobia really isn’t that quirky. We know how common it is based on several surveys of social fears I have discussed in this blog. The National Comorbidity Survey done in the early 1990s found that 6.4% of U.S. adults (or roughly 1 in 16) feared writing while someone watches (versus 30.2% for public speaking). A very similar 6.9% of Canadian adults in Alberta and Manitoba had that fear. Writing in front of others was feared by 8.0% of Swedish adults and 5.5% of Swedish university students. Also 2.9% of young Israeli soldiers feared writing while being observed.

More recent surveys of social fears typically have combined that fear with fears of eating or drinking while being watched. Some surveys also list results for both a fear and the more severe phobia. In the National Comorbidity Survey Replication 8.1% of American adults feared Writing/eating/drinking while being watched while  5.3% had a phobia. In nine developed countries 4.4% had that fear while only 2.5% had a phobia, and in eleven developing countries 9.4% had that fear but only 1.6% had a phobia. Also, 5.0% of people in the Canadian military feared Writing/eating/drinking while someone watches.
A 1936 image of Evalyn Walsh Mclean signing her book Father Struck It Rich came from the Library of Congress.

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