Nearly one out of three households in the United States fears becoming overextended on credit of all kinds, according to an ABC News-Washington Post poll.
Most of the worry comes from the Baby Boomers and their children, a group ranging in age from 18 to 45, according to the poll.
The findings are based on telephone interviews with 1,205 U.S. residents conducted between Dec. 12 and 16, 1985.
The interview subjects were asked to respond to five questions about personal credit, including one that asked: "For you and your family personally, do you think the risk of becoming overextended on credit is not likely at all, somewhat likely or very likely?"
Twenty percent of the respondents said that it was "somewhat likely" that they would become overextended, and 13 percent said that credit overextension was "very likely," meaning that 33 percent feared that they could run into trouble with credit.
Sixty-four percent of the respondents, many of them in the 45-year-to-61-year age bracket, said that they were "not likely at all" to become overextended on credit.
Most of those interviewed, 59 percent, said that their overall financial debt has remained about the same in the past year. This result does not necessarily contradict the strong showing of concern about possible credit overextension.
Actual debt is one thing. Fear of future debt and the ability to handle it constitute another, the poll showed.
Some 62 percent of all Americans households shop with credit cards, the survey found. Of the card holders, 51 percent have lines of credit ranging from $1,000 to $5,000; 20 percent have lines of credit below $1,000; 12 percent have lines of credit between $5,000 and $10,000, and 9 percent have credit lines exceeding $10,000, according to the survey.