The Spiral of Silence and Fear of Isolation

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This research explores the relationship between fear of isolation and allied concepts derived from the communication apprehension (CA) literature—CA-trait and CA-state—on opinion expression. The study took place during the final run-up to the Fall 2002 U.S. Congressional elections, and the research topic focused on the debate surrounding the possibility of the United States invading Iraq. The results suggest that (a) CA-trait, CA-state, and fear of isolation are empirically distinct; (b) these constructs differentially predict opinion expression; and (c) customary ways of assessing opinion expression in past research likely have underestimated conformity effects.