Karen Gottfried questioned 16,262 people from 22 countries around the world.
She said: "Whether they think it will come to an end through the hands of God, or a natural disaster or a political event, whatever the reason, one in seven thinks the end of the world is coming."
Gottfried, who conducted the poll for Reuters, explained: "Perhaps it is because of the media attention coming from one interpretation of the Mayan prophecy that states the world 'ends' in our calendar year 2012."
Only 6 percent of the pessimists are French, with a far higher 22 percent from Turkey.
Russia had the largest percentage of people expecting the worst, with the lowest coming from Great Britain.
The researcher also noted that people with inferior education, lower household income, and those under 35 years old, were more likely to believe that the world will end sometime in 2012 or during their lifetime.
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