Trait-like qualities of selected variables assumed to be transient causes of performance state anxiety

Michael J. Beatty, Gary Leonard Balfantz, Alison Y. Kuwabara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


In the extant CA literature, the immediate causes of state anxiety experienced during public communication-related performances, such as public speaking, are supposed to include novelty, formality, subordinate status, conspicuousness, unfamiliarity, dissimilarity, degree of attention from others and amount of evaluation. These factors are assumed to be transient conditions owing to the specific situation. Recent research, however, indicates that except for novelty, measures of these variables correlate with CA. Since CA is considered trait-like, one implication of these findings is that these “immediate causes” are more similar to dispositional individual differences than situational factors. In the present study, data were collected during two separate performances. Results indicate that degree of attention functions as a situational perception whereas novelty, subordinate status, conspicuousness, unfamiliarity, dissimilarity and degree of evaluation meet the expectations for traits. Theoretical and instructional implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-289
Number of pages13
JournalCommunication Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics


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