Date Approved

2007

Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department

Psychology

Abstract

Social Anxiety Disorder can hinder a person’s life and cause them great distress. Within Social Anxiety Disorder, public speaking anxiety is the most common. Many types of therapies are employed to assist people with overcoming the fear of social situations. Exposure is a key ingredient for most of these treatments. Exposure therapy for public speaking anxiety may occur naturally in speech courses. Two surveys measuring Public Speaking Anxiety and Social Anxiety Disorder were given on a website to students enrolled in an introductory college speech course and a control group of psychology students not enrolled in a speech course. The surveys were given at the beginning of a semester and then again at the end of that semester. It was expected that the experimental group, speech students (N=31), would display significantly lower scores on the Personal Report of Public Speaking Anxiety and the Social Interaction and Anxiety Subscale, while the control group, psychology students (N=42), would score the same at pretest and posttest. The hypotheses were not confirmed. There was no significant difference between the groups at posttest on the PRPSA. There was also no significant difference for either group from pretest to posttest on the SIAS. The results and implications are discussed.

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