American's fears have reportedly shifted under Donald Trump's presidency, according to the results of a new survey. An in-depth examination was conducted by researchers at Chapman University to determine what the top fears were for the average adult. This is the fourth year the study has been completed.

The survey, titled Survey of American Fears, examined what scares 1,207 adults. Participants were required to provide feedback on a list of 80 fears across a broad range of four different categories: personal fears, paranormal fears, fear of extremism and natural disasters. Among the list of 80 fears evaluated include ghosts, terrorism, spiders, public speaking and the environment. 

The respondents' top fear was corrupt government officials, which the researchers had alleged can be directly attributed to the changing political climate in America. This fear, however, remained the top concern of participants for the second year in a row. Healthcare owned the No. 2 slot, with water pollution coming in third.

"The 2017 survey data shows us that while some of the top fears have remained, there has also been a pronounced shift to environmental fears," Christopher Bader, a professor of sociology at Chapman University and the study's lead surveyor, said in a press release on Oct. 10. "We are beginning to see trends that people tend to fear what they are exposed to in the media. Many of the top 10 fears this year can be directly correlated to the top media stories of the past year."

Environmental fears became more of a concern with this year's respondents than in previous evaluations. Four of the top fears are environment-related, but two of them are new additions to the surveys. Environmental fears also hadn't peaked the survey's top 10 in previous runs. 

The fear of water pollution, in particular, could be linked to the reversal of many policies made under Barack Obama's presidency to protect the environment. The Trump administration has ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to implement serious pollution laws and also terminated all employees under the EPA's Science Advisory Board. 

"Whether they're afraid of an attack by North Korea, a pandemic (which 36 percent of Americans fear), or a natural disaster, Americans just aren't prepared," Ann Gordon, the director of Chapman University's Henley Lab, said in a press release. "Sheltering in place requires some preparation, such as food water, and medicine."

Gordon added, "Only 34 percent of Americans have such preparations, although 45 percent say they are familiar with the advice to "Prepare. Plan. Stay informed." And in any disaster, a battery-powered radio is essential to staying informed. This would be a great step towards preparedness for American households.'"

Of the 80 fears evaluated, animals earned the last spot. Zombies, blood and ghosts came in slightly above animals. Clowns came in at 76, which is an unexpected result considering the scary clown epidemic depicted in Stephen King's "It" and hysteria over creepy clowns that has circulated since 2016.

The survey's results range from "Afraid" to "Very Afraid." Here's the full list from the "Survey of American Fears":

  1. Corruption of government officials — 74.5 percent 
  2. American Healthcare Act/Trumpcare — 55.3 percent 
  3. Pollution of oceans, rivers and lakes — 53.1 percent  
  4. Pollution of drinking water — 50.4 percent  
  5. Not having enough money in the future — 50.2 percent
  6. High medical bills — 48.4 percent
  7. The U.S. will be involved in another world war — 48.4 percent
  8. Global warming and climate change — 48 percent
  9. North Korea using weapons — 47.5 percent
  10. Air pollution — 44.9 percent 

 

Screaming Woman A new survey revealed what Americans top fears are, pictured is a woman screaming during an audition September 13, 2002 in Long Beach, California. Photo: Getty Images