For Immediate Release
December 15, 1999
Contacts: Cathcart, or
Y2K Multi-Cultural Study Shows Respondents Spending New Year's Eve with Family and Friends
COLLEGE PARK, Md Many people around the world plan to spend the last night of the millennium with family and friends. Six weeks after the start of a multi-cultural Y2K study, researchers at the University of Maryland, College Park are releasing findings about respondents' New Year's Eve plans, their worst fears for the new millennium and their greatest hopes.
The Maryland Millennium Project is an Internet-based study (www.y2k.umd.edu) that seeks to assess how people around the world view the approaching calendar change their hopes, fears and preparations for Y2K. The researchers hypothesize that how people deal with specific Y2K issues is rooted in their individual beliefs, fears, hopes and general outlook on life. The study is available in multiple languages, including Spanish, French, German and Chinese.
Forty-one percent of respondents to date report they will be spending New Year's Eve with family and friends. Twenty percent plan to attend a party or banquet, while 14 percent will be celebrating at home. Other responses include no special plans 13 percent; special travel four percent; or spiritual or religious activities three percent. Less than one percent of respondents plan to "take shelter."
"The responses so far suggest that most people around the world aren't planning a wild night of revelry at large parties or public venues. More than half the respondents will be at home or with family and friends," says Lisa G. Aspinwall, an associate professor of psychology at Maryland and project director.
The study, which is confidential, also asks visitors to name their fears for Y2K and the millennium. The results strongly suggest that one of the biggest concerns is the behavior of other people. One-third of the participants in the survey fear a mass panic at the turn of the year. Twelve percent fear financial problems, including bank failures and inability to get money from ATMs. Other fears include problems with utilities nine percent; extremist violence seven percent; transportation problems four percent; problems stemming from other countries' lack of preparedness three percent; and problems with basic necessities two percent.
The majority of respondents 30 percent indicate that their best hope for the new millennium is a smooth transition in Y2K. Sixteen percent list their best hope as moving closer to world peace, while 11 percent want happiness and success for themselves and their families.
Continues Aspinwall, "It appears from this study at this point that most people's thoughts about the new millennium are dominated by Y2K concerns as opposed to longer range issues such as world peace or human rights. It could be argued, however, that the reason for this would be because they just completed a questionnaire on Y2K. Also, once the hurdle of Y2K has been cleared, people may be more inclined to turn their attention to broader issues."
Further information on millennial plans, hopes and fears is available on the Maryland Millennium Project home page. Aspinwall plans to provide weekly updates. Researchers also have posted a request asking visitors to bookmark the site and return after the new year to write personal anecdotes about what happened to them on Jan. 1, 2000. The website managers then will compile and post the best Y2K stories from around the world. Aspinwall plans to release comprehensive findings in mid-2000.
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