Media Relations: CBS NEWS, Chapman University

Things Americans fear most

By: Ashley Welch, CBS News

Fear is a natural and often necessary emotional response to physical and emotional danger that is vital to our existence. If we didn’t feel fear, we wouldn’t be able to protect ourselves from harmful threats. 2-chapmanunive

So what are Americans afraid of? The second annual Chapman University Survey of American Fears seeks to answer that question and reveals some interesting trends about what people in the U.S. find most threatening.

A random sample of more than 1,5000 adults from across the country answered questions about 88 fears covering a broad spectrum of categories, including fears of the government, crime, disasters, the environment, the future, technology, sickness and aging. The researchers also included questions about personal anxieties, such as claustrophobia, clowns and public speaking.

To continue reading click here to be directed to CBS News.

MEDIA RELATIONS: Washington Post, Chapman University

Forget ghosts and zombies this Halloween,  Americans’ greatest fear is their government

By: Colby Itkowitz, Washington Post

It’s the season for spooking, but traditional Halloween haunts don’t keep most Americans up at night.

Screaming your way through a haunted house, burying your face during a horror movie, or jumping at the sight of a hairy spider are all fear responses. But reactions to such acute threats are fleeting, and around this time of year are often intentional. imrs.php

Which is very different than the fears that plague us year-round.

recent survey from Chapman University in California found the top fears held by most people are the unpredictable ones over which they have absolutely no control. People are most worried about government corruption and terrorism and corporate tracking of personal data. (Of the 88 fears that survey participants were asked to rank, whooping cough and zombies rank as the bottom two.)

Robert Leahy, director of The American Institute for Cognitive Therapy and author of The Worry Cure, said people often “overestimate the risk” of threats they cannot see. And the lack of control makes them feel vulnerable.

“Ironically, we seldom fear the real threats—such as cancer and cardiovascular disease — [and] we engage in high-risk behavior such as overeating, drinking, smoking, etc.,” he said. “…We often believe that what is familiar to us—these habits—is not risky.”

To continue reading click here to be directed to The Washington Post.