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One-in-six residents claim to have experienced a “panic attack” to avoid doing something out of fear.

Vancouver, BC – A sizeable proportion of British Columbians admit that they are afraid of several potential or certain situations they may face, a new Insights West poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative provincial sample, 43% of British Columbians say they are personally afraid of terrorism, while a similar proportion fears heights (40%) and snakes (also 40%).

Being the victim of a crime is next on the list of fears with 38%, followed by nuclear war at 37%, public speaking at 36% and spiders at 33%.

More than one-in-five British Columbians acknowledge being personally afraid of confined spaces (32%), death (30%), water or drowning (24%), germs (23%) and insects (also 23%). All the other fears included on the list affect fewer residents, including needles or getting shots (17%), flying (16%), blood (11%) and clowns (7%).

Some British Columbians have taken specific steps to deal with these fears. A third of residents (32%) say they have asked another person to “get rid” of an insect, bug or spider, including almost half of women (46%).

In addition, 27% of British Columbians have altered their plans (such as their route or mode of transportation) to avoid a thing or situation they fear or feared, and one-in-six (16%) experienced a “panic attack” to avoid doing something out of fear.

Only 13% of British Columbians admitted to coming close to “losing it” in front of other people on account of a fear they had, and 7% used the stairs instead of the elevator to avoid being in a confined space out of fear (not because of fitness reasons).

“Gender and age play a role in the situations that British Columbians fear,” says Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs, at Insights West. “Women are more likely than men to be afraid of becoming victims of a crime, while the fear of nuclear war is strongest among those aged 55 and over.”

About Insights West:

Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company. It exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary.

About this Release:

Results are based on an online study conducted from May 31 to June 3, 2016, among 802 adult British Columbians. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.5 percentage points. Click here to view the detailed data tabulations.

For further information, please contact:

Mario Canseco
Vice President, Public Affairs, Insights West


Photograph: Guy Dickinson