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New Survey Reveals America's Top Fears

The third annual survey by Chapman University in Orange, California, asked more than 1,500 adults nationwide about their level of fears

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    The top fear hasn't changed since 2015, but there was an overall shift in other top fears.

    In the midst of an intense presidential election season, a new survey reveals what Americans fear the most in 2016: corrupt government officials. 

    The third annual survey by Chapman University in Orange, California, asked more than 1,500 adults nationwide about their level of fears in 11 major "domains" of fear, including crime, the government and disasters. 

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    "We have noticed that top fears tend to reflect to key factors: uncertainty and lack of control," Christopher Bader, a professor of sociology at Chapman University who lead the survey, told NBC in a statement. "People tend to fear things the most that have the potential to significantly upend their lives and those fears are even greater if they perceive having little control over that phenomenon." 

    The ten major fear “domains” used in the survey in April 2016 were: crime, economics, environment, government, illness and death, immigration, man-made disasters, natural disasters, personal fears, relationships and technology.

    The top fear hasn't changed since 2015, but there was an overall shift in other top fears, according to Bader. In 2016, the second greatest fear was a terrorist attack, and the third was financial instability in the future.

    In 2015 the second greatest fear was cyber-terrorism, followed by corporate tracking of personal data.

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    Of the 1,511 people surveyed in 2016, approximately 60.6 percent reported fear of corrupt government officials. Last year, of 1,541 surveyed adults, 58 percent reported this fear. 

    The fears this year reflect more concerns with health and finance than last year’s data collection. 

    "We began this study in 2014 in the hopes of developing a greater understanding of the role of fear in American life over time," Bader said. "What is lacking is an ongoing, systematic, scientific study of American fears and what predicts those fears and the outcomes of those fears." 

    The Top 10 Fears of Americans in 2016:

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    Corrupt government officials 

    Terrorist attack

    Not having enough money for the future 

    Terrorism 

    Government restrictions on firearms and ammunition 

    People I love dying 

    Economic/financial collapse 

    Identity theft 

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    People I love becoming seriously ill 

    The Affordable Care Act/Obamacare