» The Social Reality Index: A National Survey of Fears

We are developing a random, national survey of fears called the Social Reality Index. The survey will ask respondents the extent to which they fear crime, terrorist attacks, national disasters, personal crises and a host of other phenomena. Wave 1 of the project is funded through grants from the John Templeton Foundation and by the Institute for the Study of Religion, Economics and Society (IRES) at Chapman University.

  • Members
  • Grants/funding
  • Research students
  • Research projects
  • Christopher Bader, Sociology

    L. Edward Day, Sociology

    Ann Gordon, Political Science

    Georgiana Bostean, Sociology, Schmid College

    Patricia See, Sociology

    Victoria Carty, Sociology

    Fred Smoller, Political Science

    David Shafie, Political Science

    Stephanie Takaragawa, Sociology

  • The first wave of the survey is funded from existing grants.  For subsequent waves we plan to apply for external funding to NSF.

  • The group utilized a large group of students to develop the first draft of the survey through a special topics class taught by Christopher Bader during Interterm 2014.  We will continue to involve students in the process of develop subsequent waves. 

    We plan to incorporate the datasets into our curriculum, using them as a unique data source that can be used in methods classes and as a dataset that students can use to develop their theses.

    Finally, faculty will include students in the process of writing related articles whenever possible.  For example, Bader will write an article with two students from the interterm class regarding American explanations for criminal behavior.

  • The faculty will develop a campaign related to the results and hold an event in the fall of 2014.

    There are also several related articles in the planning stages that involve subgroups of faculty within the group, including:


    • An examination of the preferred explanations Americans have for criminal behavior
    • An exploration of how religious beliefs and affiliations are correlated with fears about society
    • A paper that examines the frequency with which Americans belief in upcoming natural or social disasters and the extent to which Americans attempt to "prepare" for them.

    Projects include:

    • Fears of crime and criminal victimization
    • Perceptions of societal change
    • Fears and concerns about immigration
    • Attitudes about homosexuality
    • The relationship of religion to fears about society
    • Survivalism