School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Roger Stiles


Communication Apprehension, Exposure Therapy, High School, Peer Practice


Curriculum and Instruction | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Methods | Educational Psychology


Curricula nationwide is trending toward mandating mastery and assessment of communication skills; however, little research exists to provide insight on how to support students suffering from communication apprehension. This quantitative, quasi-experimental, static-group comparison study examines the impact of peer practice on communication apprehension, public speaking anxiety, group discussion, meeting, and interpersonal communication among high school students. This study utilized a convenience sampling with a control and a treatment group; the sample consisted of 275 participants enrolled in grades nine through 12 at a large, public high school in South Carolina. McCroskey’s Personal Report of Communication Apprehension 24 (PRCA-24) (1982b) was used to measure overall communication apprehension, as well as apprehension on four subscales: group discussion, meeting, interpersonal conversations, and public speaking anxiety. This study utilized the total scale measure of communication apprehension as well as the four subscales. An individual samples t-test was used to determine the impact of peer practice on total communication apprehension, while a one-way multivariate analysis of variance was used to determine the impact of peer practice on each subscale of the PRCA-24: group discussion, meeting, public speaking, and interpersonal. T-test results indicated that peer practice reduced overall communication apprehension compared to control group results; however, MANOVA results found peer practice had no statistically significant impact on group discussion, meeting, public speaking, or interpersonal apprehension individually. Future research should focus on extending the breadth of research in high school populations, examine specific communication contexts, and consider utilizing alternative measures other than PRCA-24.