Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Center for the Advancement of Education


The small group communication classes at Evergreen Valley College are experiencing large class sizes. Students enrolled in these classes tend to have high levels of communication apprehension (CA). which these large classes it is difficult to apportion class time to reducing CA. the purpose of this study was to determine whether the most often used treatment of CA, systematic desensitization (SD) lowers CA significantly enough to justify the use of class time. Two intact small group communication classes of thirty-four students each were used and the SD treatment, consisting of four forty minute sessions, was randomly assigned. The same instructor, text, and assignments were used for both groups. The Personal Report of Communication Apprehension-24 was used to measure CA levels at the conclusion of the course. The independent variable was SD and the dependent variable was CA. The research question was SD successful enough in reducing CA is use class time in place of other activities? An independent two tailed t-test was used to measure the difference in group means. The critical t-score was -.926 which was not significant at the .01 level, thus, the null hypothesis was accepted. As a result of this study, it is recommended that communication studies instructors not allot class time for specific treatment of CA with class size this large.

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