Master's Theses

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access

Date of Award

Summer 2002

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Communication Studies


Carol Haggard


The purpose of this research was to determine whether communication apprehension increased in students between first and eighth grades, looking specifically at any gender differences. Communication apprehension is the level of fear or anxiety a person associates with real or anticipated communication (McCroskey, 1977). People spend 75% of their time speaking and listening, yet Bruskin & Goldring’s 1993 poll finds public speaking to be America’s number one fear (as cited by Morreale, Osborn, & Pearson, 2001, June). Research shows communication apprehension can begin at an early age but there’s no consistency as to exactly what age and whether it is stable, increases, or decreases with age. There also has been very little research conducted on whether gender plays a role in communication apprehension. This study investigated communication apprehension in grades one through eight. The subjects for the study came from a Midwest school system where the elementary classes were an average size for the state. The Measure of Elementary Communication Apprehension (MECA) was administered to two classes of each grade level to determine what changes occurred in levels of communication apprehension between grade levels. Results of the MECA were also examined with regard to changes in communication apprehension between same grade boys and girls.


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Copyright 2002 Barbara J. Baldwin

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