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Chapman Survey of American Fears, Wave 7 (2021)




Bader, C. D., Day, L. E., & Gordon, A. (2023, January 13). Chapman Survey of American Fears, Wave 7 (2021).


Chapman University engaged SSRS to conduct the 2020/2021 wave of The Chapman University Survey on American Fears (CSAF). Chapman University initiated this nationwide poll on what strikes fear in Americans in 2014. The primary objective of this survey is to collect annual data on the fears, worries and concerns of Americans, the personal, behavior and attitudinal characteristics related to those fears, and how those fears are associated with other attitudes and behaviors.

The ARDA has added five additional variables to the original data set to enhance the users' experience on our site.

Data File

Cases: 1035
Variables: 218
Weight Variable: WEIGHT

This study, using sample selected from the SSRS Opinion Panel, was weighted to provide nationally representative and projectable estimates of the U.S. adult population 18 years of age and older.

The sample was weighted in stages. The first stage of the weighting was the application of a base weight to account for different probabilities of recruitment to the SSRS Opinion Panel. Next, a non-internet propensity score adjustment, which models non-Internet households that are excluded from an online panel, was applied. In the final stage of weighting sample demographics were post-stratified to match population parameters.

Data Collection


Original Survey (Instrument)

The Chapman University Survey on American Fears

Funded By

The Earl Babbie Research Center at Chapman University and the John Templeton Foundation

Collection Procedures

Surveys conducted using the SSRS Opinion Panel are self-administered web surveys. In appreciation for their participation, panelists receive a modest incentive for participation (in the form of an electronic gift card). Depending on the field period, reminder emails are sent to panelists who do not complete the survey after being sent the initial invitation.

For the CSAF study, a soft launch invitation was sent on 1/5/2021, with a full launch invitation being sent on 1/6/2021. The field closed on 1/15/2021.

A 'soft launch' that invited a limited number of panelists to participate was conducted on Jan. 5, 2021. After checking soft launch data to ensure that all questionnaire content and skip patterns were correct, an additional sample was released to ensure the final sample met the study goals.

The median length of the CSAF survey was 22 minutes.

Panelists were emailed an invitation to complete the CSAF survey online. The email for each respondent included a unique passcode-embedded link. In appreciation for their participation, panelists received a $7 incentive (in the form of an electronic gift card). All respondents not responding to their first invitation received a reminder email on Jan. 8, 2021. Another reminder email was sent on Jan. 11, 2021 to selected respondents in underrepresented demographics. Another round of reminders was sent to non-responders via text message on Jan. 13, 2021 (panelists who had not opted into receive texts messages from the SSRS Opinion Panel were sent email reminders instead). Lastly, on Jan. 14, 2021 a new sample was drawn and sent email invitations to meet final study goals.

As a standard practice for SSRS Opinion Panel surveys, quality checks were incorporated into the survey. For CSAF, these included asking respondents to select a specific response when viewing a list of items. Respondents who failed the quality checks employed were not included in the final data set.

As standard practice on web surveys, respondents were allowed to skip any question they did not wish to answer; however, high rates of non-response can be correlated with poor data quality. Notably, 97 percent of respondents answered 100 percent of all survey questions, with no one completing less than 94 percent of the entire questionnaire.

Sampling Procedures

SSRS Opinion Panel members are recruited randomly based on nationally representative ABS (Address Based Sample) design (including Hawaii and Alaska). Additionally, we recruit hard-to-reach demographic groups via our Omnibus survey platform. The SSRS Omnibus survey is a nationally representative (including Hawaii and Alaska) bilingual telephone survey designed to meet standards of quality associated with custom research studies. The SSRS Omnibus completes more than 50,000 surveys annually with 70 percent cell allocation.

The advantage of this recruiting design is that it relies on a high-quality ABS design that yields a higher response rate. Additionally, it leverages our Omnibus platform to ensure adequate representation of typically under-represented groups in public opinion polls, such as Hispanics, African Americans, lower educated, or lower-income population.

ABS respondents are randomly sampled by MSG through the U.S. Postal Service's Computerized Delivery Sequence (CDS), a regularly updated listing of all known addresses in the U.S. For the Opinion Panel, known business addresses are excluded from the sample frame.

All sample members drawn for the CSAF were adult, English-language panelists. Sample drawn for the CSAF was stratified by age, gender, race and ethnicity, education, region, and party identification to ensure adequate representation of each.

Principal Investigators

The CSAF, Wave 7 was collected with the help of a multi-disciplinary team of faculty and students. The three Principal Investigators are:

Dr. Christopher Bader, Professor of Sociology, Chapman University
Dr. L. Edward Day, Associate Professor of Sociology, Chapman University
Dr. Ann Gordon, Associate Professor of Political Science, Chapman University

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