New York: Frequent spats with North Korea and a "reckless" attitude displayed by US President Donald Trump have prompted the fear of a World War III among most Americans, a survey has revealed.
Led by researchers at Chapman University in the US, the "Survey of American Fears 2017" showed that the fright of a menacing world war looms large.
It is also a new entrant into the list of "Top 10 fears" since the first survey was conducted in 2014.
"Americans need to unlearn 'Duck and Cover' and replace it with 'Get inside. Stay Inside. Stay Tuned'," said Ann Gordon, Director at the university's Henley Lab.
"Duck and Cover" that 70 per cent of Americans are familiar with came up during the Cold War with the USSR, which is now "obsolete", Gordon said.
This fear was corroborated by Republican Senator Bob Corker earlier this week.
Corker had warned that Trump was treating his office like "a reality show" with reckless threats toward other countries that could set the nation "on the path to World War III", the New York Times reported on Monday.
The survey showed that 48 per cent of Americans fear North Korea using nuclear weapons and 41 per cent fear a nuclear attack. The prospect of a nuclear meltdown troubles 31 per cent of all Americans.
Concern and fears about the environment, which had never cracked the Top 10 fears in any previous surveys, also figured more prominently in the 2017 edition.
Environment fears included pollution of oceans, rivers and lakes (53.1 per cent), closely followed by pollution of drinking water (50.4 per cent), global warming and climate change (48 per cent) and air pollution (44.9 per cent).
Following the reversal of the environmental policies of the previous Barack Obama administration by Trump, the researchers felt these green fears grew.
Trump, who had called the Climate Change a "hoax", earlier had pulled the US out of the Paris Agreement on curbing global warming.
Three out of five Americans reported fear of Islamic extremists/Jihadists as a threat to national security. White supremacists featured as a threat to national security among 51 per cent.
For the survey, the team included more than 1,207 adults from across the nation and all walks of life.
The 2017 survey data is organised into four basic categories: personal fears, natural disasters, paranormal fears and fear of extremism.