September 17, 2001

Americans have profoundly altered the way they live in the month since the attacks on America. They are spending more time at home and with their families. The role of religion and patriotism in their lives has increased substantially, and they are willing to make substantial compromises in terms of both privacy and convenience to live in greater safety. The McPheters & Company/Beta Research study Changing American Lives shows that the events surrounding September 11th have not only had a profound impact on how Americans live their lives, but on their priorities and concerns, as well as how they relate to the media. The first wave of the study was conducted via telephone among a random and nationally representative sample of 200 adults from September 29th to October 6th. The next wave will go into the field on
November 1st.

Among the major changes occurring in the aftermath of September 11th are:

Reaching Out to Others

* Americans are reaching out to each other by spending more time with family and with friends. About a third say they are spending more time with their families, and 13% say they are spending more time with friends.

* More than 1 in 5 say they are spending more time at home, and 46% are calling friends and family more.

Spirituality & Patriotism

* There has been a return to spirituality, with 25% increasing the time they spend in a house of worship and 39% spending more time in prayer.

* Over half (57%) say that they have become more patriotic.


* Safety takes precedence over privacy concerns and convenience. Three out of four Americans are willing to tolerate some loss of privacy to make this country safe. Eight out of 10 welcome tighter security in public places. Nine out of 10 think it is a good idea to have Federal marshals on airline flights.

Attitudes Towards Work

* The importance of work in their lives is undiminished. The amount of time they spend working has not changed, nor have their attitudes towards their job or the company for which they work.

Change in Leisure Activities

* They are going to movies less (18%), eating out less (28%), and shopping less (22%), though they believe these changes are temporary.

Change in Media Habits and Attitudes

* News has taken on increased prominence, with more time spent watching television news, and listening to news on the radio. More than 3/4 of Americans say they are watching more news programs on television and more than half say they listen to more news on the radio. Other forms of programming are being consumed at substantially reduced rates.

* Almost half (46%) have changed the channels they watch.

* They are spending more time reading newspapers (50%) and magazines (30%).

* They are spending more time online (20%), but less time in online chat rooms.

* Almost half (48%) think the news media in this country provides the public with too much information.

Percentages are accurate at the 95% confidence level within plus or minus 6.9%.

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