Governments' Lighter Side

Corrupt government officials and cyber attacks top American Fears list

Above burglary, rape and murder, Americans are most petrified by the thought of corrupt government officials and cyber attacks, according to a new Chapman University study.

Of the 1,541 adults responding to the Survey of American Fears, 58 percent expressed fear of the corruption of government officials. Cyber terrorism came in second with nearly 45 percent of respondents expressing fear about cyber attacks. The study, conducted by the California university’s Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities and Social Studies, measured subject's fears on 88 topics, including government, disasters, personal anxieties and technology. 

The respondents rated their level of fear on a scale from 1 (not afraid) to 4 (very afraid). On average, the topic with the highest fear score was man-made disasters with a 2.15 average score, according to a Chapman University blog. Personal anxieties, such as judgment from other people, ghosts and the dark, were the least scary thoughts for those surveyed. The complete list of the ten domain of fears is shown below.













The survey results are not surprising, since more people "overestimate the risk" of threats they cannot see, Robert Leahy, director of The American Institute for Cognitive Therapy and author of "The Worry Cure," told The Washington Post.

“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.,” Leahy told the newspaper. “…We often believe that what is familiar to us — these habits — is not risky.”


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What's Governments' Lighter Side?

It is an irreverent take on local and state government news.


Derek Prall

Derek Prall is a professional journalist who has held numerous positions with a variety of print and online publications including The Public Manager magazine and the New Jersey Herald. He is a 2008...
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