ERIC Number: ED393126
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Nov-19
Reference Count: N/A
Preliminary Findings on Gender Based Fear Reactions in Communication Apprehension Writings.
Stowell, Jessica; Furlong, Cathy
A study examined some of the reasons behind communication apprehension. The participants were 240 students (120 men and 120 women) from a southern community college enrolled in the basic public speaking course. Their writings were collected over a period of 7 years and selected randomly for analysis. The second week of the semester, students were asked to free write by finishing the following sentence: "Giving a speech makes me feel...." The writings were analyzed using discourse analysis. They were sorted into three categories: (1) positive responses; (2) negative responses based on the anticipation of physical symptoms of nervousness; and (3) negative responses based on the anticipation that the audience would response negatively to their speech. Results showed that a higher percentage of men (19%) than women (11%) are comfortable with public speaking. Further, it showed that men and women have different reasons for communication apprehension. Generally, men fit into the second category above and women into the third. Four fields of inquiry were developed to investigate these results and to generate further research hypotheses. These hypotheses suggest that men's self-esteem is internally based while women's is based on what others think; that women are more likely to focus on body image and physical appearance as measures of competency; that men do not access their emotions as readily as women and, therefore, do not know how to put them on paper; and that men's expectations of oral communication are internally determined, while women's are externally determined. (Contains 24 references.) (TB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Communication Behavior
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association (81st, San Antonio, TX, November 18-21, 1995).