Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. JoAnn Simon

Second Advisor

Dr. Carol Sheffer

Third Advisor

Dr. David Cowden


The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of a cognitive restructuring unit in the reduction of oral communication apprehension (CA) and the enhancement of semester grades in high school speech class. The unit was designed to raise self-acceptance, and thereby, self-confidence, especially in oral communication.

The experimental treatment method, cognitive restructuring (plus skills training), was compared with the skills training only traditional speech class method. Both treatment methods were reviewed, as well as inappropriate treatment methods for classroom and clinic.

Subjects registered in four different speech courses were randomly assigned by computer to classes which were then selected as clusters for the experimental conditions. An introspective self-report instrument, McCroskey's Personal Report of Communication Apprehension (PRCA-24), was employed. Attempts were made to control a number of extraneous variables in this quasi-experimental design.

Subscores and total scores were tallied for each subject on pretest and posttest measures, and gain scores were computed from these scores. These gain scores were submitted to a two-way analysis of variance statistical technique. Where significant differences were found, the Scheffe post hoc treatment was performed. Gain scores were also compared with semester grades, using the same statistical tests.

Significant differences were noted between scores in the four types of courses on the public speaking submeasure and total scores and between scores of students receiving Bs and those earning grades below B. Specifically, the cognitive restructuring treatment method, combined with skills training, seemed to have a positive effect on student self-confidence in public speaking situations, as reflected in the significant changes in the level of CA registered in pretest to posttest gain scores.

Based on the findings reported, teachers were encouraged to use cognitive restructuring (plus skills training) as a communication apprehension reduction technique in speech classes, especially for public speaking improvement. Also, it is recommended that skills training plus cognitive restructuring be employed especially with those students experiencing high levels of oral CA and grades below B.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access