Too much or too little choice? Insecurity of choice among Australian adults

Document Type

Journal Article


Common Ground Publishing


Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences


School of Communications and Arts / Centre for Research in Entertainment, Arts, Technology, Education and Communications




Bellamy, J., Hughes, P., & Black, A. (2005). Too Much or Too Little Choice? Insecurity of choice among Australian adults. International Journal of the Humanities, 2(1), 579-588. Available here


Insecurity has always existed in the lives of people to greater or lesser degree. War, disease and the forces of nature have meant greater insecurity in terms of personal safety, food, and shelter. In modern cities insecurity can come in the form of having too little choice. People without sufficient money or employment often have fewer choices or lesser control over their lives. It can also be argued that in contemporary urban life, insecurity can arise from having too many choices to make. People in the West are no longer simply accepting the cultural traditions handed down to them but are creating their own lives reflexively. They are making decisions about almost all aspects of life; as a result, life seems more complex than it ever was. These choices create their own form of insecurity. This paper compares and contrasts the nature and correlates of these two different forms of insecurity arising from having too little choice and too much choice. Analysis was carried out of the responses of 1514 Australian adults to a recent social survey on the topics of in security, wellbeing and spirituality. Scales have been developed to measure the different kinds of insecurity. The paper will also show how different groups of people are affected by each form of insecurity. The paper shows the relationship between these two forms of insecurity, ontological security and wellbeing.