At the Odyssey web site, I found a strange article by Matt Neuenschwander titled The Notable Bathrooms of Kennesaw State University (and subtitled Finding solitude to make a solid). His first sentence claims:
“Probably the only phobia more common than the fear of public speaking is the fear of using public bathrooms.”
Matt doesn’t say where he found that very curious ranking of fears. It disagrees with results from three magazine articles about the definitive U. S. mental health series collectively known as the National Comorbidity Survey.
A 1998 article about the original National Comorbidity Survey (NCS) found that 30.2% of feared public speaking while only 6.6% feared using a toilet away from home. I blogged about that one in a July 22,2011 post titled Putting the fears puzzle pieces together: social and specific fears in the National Comorbidity Survey.
A 2008 article about the National Comorbidity Survey-Replication (NCS-R) found that 21.2% of U.S. adults feared public speaking/performance (really stage fright) while only 5.7% feared using public bathroom. I blogged about that one in an October 11, 2011 post titled What’s the difference between a fear and a phobia?
A 2011 article about the National Comorbidity Survey-Adolescent Supplement (NCS-A) found that 35.8% feared performing for audience, 24.9% feared speaking in class, and 10.3% feared using public bathroom. I blogged about that one in a June 11, 2012 post titled What social situations scare American adolescents, and what are their top 20 fears?
That Odyssey web article has a date of December 22, 2015, but on Google it only showed up in the last few days.
The bathroom signs image was adapted from one by Hugh D’Andrade at Wikimedia Commons.