Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Although public speaking anxiety is one of the most commonly reported causes of both clinical and non-clinical anxiety, many of the currently used questionnaire measures of public speaking anxiety do not reflect the advances made in recent decades regarding empirical methods of test construction, including item generation and determination of subscale composition. The current study administered 35 empirically-generated cognitive self-statement items related to speaking anxiety to a sample of 367 undergraduate students along with measures of public speaking anxiety, fear of negative evaluation, generalized social anxiety behaviors, and self-consciousness tendencies. Using exploratory factor analysis and item-total correlations, participant responses to the 35 self-statement items were examined, producing the 30-item Speaking Cognitions and Attention Scale (SCAS). Data indicated that in the current sample the SCAS displayed a three-factor solution, with factors composed of items reflecting positive self-statements, negative self-statements, and catastrophic self-statements. The scale also demonstrated excellent internal reliability, with alphas in the range of .90 to .97. Discriminant validity analyses supported the specificity of the measure in measuring public speaking anxiety by correlating highly with another measure of speaking anxiety, at a moderate level with measures of general social anxiety, and at a small level with a measure of self-consciousness with no theoretical relationship to speaking anxiety. Results are discussed with respect to implications of the current findings for questionnaire measurement of public speaking anxiety, needed future directions in further validation of the measure, and potential applications for treatment of public speaking anxiety.
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