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Speech Anxiety

Chia-Fang Hsu, Michael Hazel and Joe Ayres

Subject Psychology
Communication and Development » Instructional Communication

Key-Topics speech

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405131995.2008.x


Speech anxiety, also known as →  stage fright , refers to the feeling of anxiousness or fear associated with delivering a speech. The symptoms of speech anxiety typically involve physiological arousal (e.g., elevated heart rate), negative thoughts (e.g., being negatively evaluated), and behavioral disruptions (e.g., verbal disfluency; Ayres & Hopf 1993 ). According to Ayres et al. (in press) , the study of speech anxiety can be traced back to ancient Greek rhetoricians 2,000 years ago, who viewed speech anxiety as arising from a lack of confidence or skills. Serious research using scientific methods did not begin until the mid-1930s, when psychologists developed ways to measure stage fright, and examined the causes and effects associated with communication fear. Following Clevenger's (1959) synthesis article on stage fright, many communication scholars began to develop theories, measurement approaches, and interventions in the areas of communication apprehension and reticence, which refer to fear or anxiety across various communication situations. Spielberger et al. (1970) distinguished between the concepts of state and trait anxiety. A state refers to a transitory condition varying over time and situations, whereas a trait is a more stable individual difference or personality characteristic. Accordingly, the causes of speech anxiety can be attributed to trait ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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