A cognitive-physiological model of speech anxiety

Ralph R. Behnke, Michael Beatty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


In the present study, a model of speech anxiety derived from Stanley Schachter’s cognitive-physiological formulation of emotion is postulated. According to Schachter, extreme levels of specific emotional response are contingent upon the presence of physiological activation along with an interpretation of the arousal which seems appropriate to the person experiencing it. Applied to speech anxiety, communicator predisposition to interpret arousal, in communication contexts, as anxiety is operationally defined as PRCA scores while heart rate serves as the measure of physiological arousal. These two predictor variables accounted for 79.60 percent of the variance in self-reported speech state anxiety experienced during public speaking, thereby providing support for a Schachterian model of speech anxiety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)158-163
Number of pages6
JournalCommunication Monographs
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1981
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication


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