Family gossip is the most popular kind

December 17, 2014, 2:59 PM GMT+0

Most Americans admit to gossiping but only one in five have been caught in the act

The Sony Pictures e-mail leak revealed a range of private correspondence between Sony executives and prominent figures in Hollywood. The head of Sony, Amy Pascal, was caught out calling Angelina Jolie a 'spoiled brat' while Leonardo DiCaprio was described as 'despicable'. Gossip isn't limited to the A-listers, however, as YouGov's latest research shows.

Most Americans admit to gossiping at least occasionally about the people in their lives. Family is the most common subject of gossip, with 70% of the public admitting to gossiping about their relatives at least rarely. They are also the subject of the most frequent gossiping, with 10% of Americans saying that they gossip 'often' or 'all the time' about their relatives. 64% say that they talk about their friends behind their backs, while 58% gossip about their bosses and 57% about their co-workers.

Overall, 30% of Americans say that they enjoy hearing gossip about other people while 63% say that they do not. Younger Americans are much more likely than older Americans to enjoy it. 38% of under-30s say that they enjoy hearing gossip, while only 20% of over-65s agree. 

By its very nature gossiping is supposed to be secret, but as the Sony executives learned people can end up discovering what has been said. 22% of the public say that they have been caught talking about someone behind their backs, while 57% say that they have caught someone else gossiping about them. Under-30s (28%) are the most likely to have been caught gossiping, while black Americans (64%) and people in the Northeast (60%) are the most likely to have caught someone talking about them. 

Full poll results can be found here.