Communication apprehension and mindfulness: Can a negative correlation help us improve?

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Willett, Brandy
Parcell, Lisa
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Communication skills are considered vital in the modern workplace, and in fact impact numerous aspects of a person’s life. In order to prepare students, many colleges and universities require an introductory-level communication or public speaking class. Unfortunately for a significant portion of these students, their communication apprehension level, the fear and avoidance of real or perceived communication interactions, is already so high that they have difficulty benefiting from these courses. This study explores the idea that adding basic level mindfulness skills and techniques to introductory-level communication courses may help students cope with their apprehension and as a result be more successful at developing communication skills. Mindfulness techniques and skills have been found to benefit college students in other areas where they face anxiety. This study looks for a link between a student’s level of communication apprehension and their mindful mindset. This was done by administering the Personal Report of Communication Apprehension – (PRCA-24) and the Cognitive and Affective Mindfulness Scale- Revised (CAMS-R) to undergraduate students taking an introductory-level communication course. The results of the CAMS-R were then be compared with students overall PRCA-24 score, which determines the students’ level of communication apprehension, and a subscale which looks only at public speaking anxiety. The findings were mixed. There was no significant correlation found between public speaking anxiety and the CAMS-R scores, while there was a moderate but positive correlation between the students’ mindful mindset and their level of communication apprehension. This positive correlation is not what previous anxiety research would predict, suggesting that these results either may be a result of survey error or that communication apprehension is perhaps a unique form of anxiety that warrants further study.

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Thesis (M.A.)-- Wichita State University, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Elliot School of Communication
Wichita State University
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