Public speaking state anxiety as a function of selected situational and predispositional variables

Michael J. Beatty, Matthew H. Friedland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


A recent stream of studies indicates that variables commonly assumed to be transient causes of public speaking state anxiety are more trait-like than situational in nature. In the present study, dispositional and situational versions of novelty, conspicuousness, and subordinate status, in addition to a measure of public speaking (trait) apprehension, were used to predict state anxiety in response to a public speaking task. The results of multiple regression analysis indicated that (1) trait versions of the variables significantly and meaningfully predicted state anxiety, (2) situational versions of the variables contributed little to the prediction and (3) public speaking apprehension (trait) scores were the single best and only significant predictor of public speaking state anxiety. Moreover, a single-predictor model, employing public speaking trait apprehension scores as the independent variable, was the most efficient model. These findings raise instructional questions regarding the advisability of perpetuating the situational determinant perspective of anxiety in public speaking courses and (2) underscore the importance of particular approaches to the remediation of CA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)142-147
Number of pages6
JournalCommunication Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics


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