The Great Fear Definition

Explore the definition, causes, effects, and examples of the Great Fear, a collective sense of anxiety and panic that grips communities and nations. Learn how to navigate through times of uncertainty and build resilience in the face of fear.


Fear is a natural, powerful emotion that can have a significant impact on our lives. Among the various types of fear, the ‘Great Fear’ stands out as a concept that encompasses widespread anxiety and panic in society. In this article, we will delve into the definition of the Great Fear, explore its causes, effects, and provide relevant examples and statistics.

What is the Great Fear?

The Great Fear is a term used to describe a collective sense of anxiety and panic that grips a community, region, or even an entire nation. It often arises in response to perceived threats or dangers, real or imagined, that have the potential to disrupt the social order and stability.

Causes of the Great Fear

  • Social unrest
  • Political upheaval
  • Natural disasters
  • Epidemics or pandemics

Effects of the Great Fear

The Great Fear can have far-reaching consequences, including:

  • Mass hysteria and panic
  • Social disruption and chaos
  • Increased stress and anxiety levels
  • Changes in behavior and decision-making

Examples of the Great Fear

One of the most famous examples of the Great Fear is the French Revolution, where widespread paranoia and panic swept through the population, leading to violent reprisals and the fall of the monarchy. In more recent times, the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a global Great Fear, with mass panic buying, social distancing measures, and economic uncertainty.

Case Studies

During the Cold War, the threat of nuclear war with the Soviet Union fueled the Great Fear in the United States, leading to widespread anxiety and the construction of bomb shelters. More recently, the September 11 attacks in 2001 sparked a Great Fear of terrorism, resulting in increased security measures and a shift in foreign policy.

Statistics on the Great Fear

According to a recent survey, 70% of Americans report feeling fearful or anxious about the future, with concerns about job security, health, and political instability topping the list of worries. In the UK, a study found that 1 in 5 adults experience high levels of anxiety or panic attacks due to the Great Fear of uncertainty and social change.


The Great Fear is a powerful force that can shape societies and individuals in profound ways. By understanding its causes and effects, we can better navigate through times of uncertainty and build resilience in the face of fear.

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