PUBLIC SPEAKING ANXIETY BEFORE AND AFTER INTRODUCTORY SPEECH CLASSES (COMMUNICATION APPREHENSION, PERSONAL REPORT, STAGE FRIGHT, RETICENCE)

ROBERT JOHN BERCHICK, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

This exploratory investigation examines the effects of participation in a semester-long college level introductory speech course on the level of public speaking anxiety. The three research hypotheses were: (1) Self-reported anxiety as measured by the Personal Report of Communication Apprehension (PRCA) and the Public Speaking Inventory (PSI) will be multidimensional in nature, (2) participation in semester-long introductory speech courses, as opposed to introductory social science courses, will be accompanied by a reduction in public speaking anxiety as measured by the total scores and factor scores of the PRCA and PSI, and (3) the PSI and PRCA will be positively correlated. Subjects included students enrolled in introductory speech courses (N = 154) and introductory social science courses (N = 163) at five colleges or universities in the Philadelphia area. Students enrolled in speech courses served as the treatment group, while students enrolled in psychology or sociology courses provided the comparison group. Hypothesis I received support from principal factor analyses which were performed for each scale, and three distinct factors were found for each scale. Through multivariate and univariate analysis-of-covariance procedures, Hypothesis II was supported with regard to the PRCA total score, and the scores from Factors I (Inclinations Towards Public Speaking) and II (Inclinations to Avoid Public Speaking). Support was not found with regard to PRCA Factor III (Symptoms of Stage Fright) nor with the PSI total scores and the three PSI factor scores. Mean reduction in the PRCA scores was found for students with both high and moderate levels of communication anxiety. The third hypothesis was supported by a positive correlation coefficient between the two scales. The finding that the PRCA is multidimensional may suggest that the popular usage of the total score of the PRCA for assessment purposes is problematic. In addition, participation in a semester-long speech course did result in a significant reduction in speech anxiety as measured by the PRCA. Thus, course participation might be viewed as a beneficial, cost efficient, supplement to counseling for clients with speech anxiety. Finally, additional development of the PSI is indicated before this scale should be used by researchers, educators, and clinicians.

Subject Area

Educational psychology

Recommended Citation

BERCHICK, ROBERT JOHN, "PUBLIC SPEAKING ANXIETY BEFORE AND AFTER INTRODUCTORY SPEECH CLASSES (COMMUNICATION APPREHENSION, PERSONAL REPORT, STAGE FRIGHT, RETICENCE)" (1985). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI8523394.
https://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI8523394

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