Date of Award

4-14-2005

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Communications (M.S.)

Department

School of Communications

Abstract

Clinically speaking, fear is a phobia and the medical field has identified more than 530 phobias that humans suffer from. The fear of public speaking has long been ranked as the number one fear of Americans, placing higher than the fear of sickness or death. Within the spectrum of public speaking, many experts believe that improvisational speaking is one of the most difficult styles of public presentation.

Although anxiety caused by the fear of public speaking can diminish through tactics and training, this study attempts to demonstrate that a moderate-to-extreme fear of public speaking is linked to the condition of Social Phobia. Social Phobia, or Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), is the irrational, yet intense fear of being judged, watched, or ridiculed by others. If an extreme fear of public speaking is a Social Phobia, tactics and training alone are not the best remedy for those who suffer from this condition.

Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between the fear of public speaking and Social Phobia. The author surveyed 77 students from an introductory speech class at Grand Valley State University. The researcher found a moderate association between the average level of anxiety of public speaking and known symptoms of Social Phobia.

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