Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Robert E. Carlson

Second Advisor

Karen Dwyer

Third Advisor

Deborah Smith-Howell


This research investigates relationships between communication apprehension (CA) and life change events, using college students at a Midwestern university. Instruments used were the Personal Report o f Communication Apprehension-24 (PRCA- 24) which measured CA, both overall and in four subareas, and a modified version of the Adolescent Life Change Event Questionnaire (ALCEQ), which records life change events during formative years and past year before being questioned.

No significant relationships were found between the overall scores of the two instruments in this study, although demographic information showed that the younger college students reported more public speaking apprehension than the older groups. Also, females reported a higher level of apprehension in the PRCA subarea o f apprehension in meetings.

Subjects were divided according to national norm quartile splits on PRCA overall and subscale scores. Analyses of occurrence of individual life change events in the five examined life time frames among these groupings revealed 41 significant differences. Many of these differences indicate experiencing certain life change events is related to CA levels. However, the major finding of this study was that the group highest in public speaking CA had a stronger history of family-related stability during the formative years, such as less occurrence of starting a new school, moving, and making new friends. They also reported less hassling with parents, and higher occurrence of being grounded.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Communication and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha.

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