Portland State University. Department of Speech
Patrick O. Marsh
Term of Graduation
Date of Publication
Master of Science (M.S.) in Speech
Oral communication, Anxiety, Dogmatism
1 online resource (vi, 108 pages)
This is a study of whether an attempt to reduce the trait of high tension-anxiety by means of systematic neuro-musculature relaxation training will result in a decrease of the communication variable of closed-mindedness.
A general review of the literature showed that the problem of tension-anxiety is complex, pervasive, and detrimental to effective communication. First, an attempt is made to bring relevant information to the field of general speech by citing a few findings from the research of other disciplines concerning the nature and effects of tension-anxiety. Currently-used methods of anxiety reduction are mentioned, and one, neuro-musculature relaxation training, discussed as to its effectiveness and adaptability to the college environment. This method was chosen for investigation in the present study because it can be administered to groups by trained personnel, who need not be professional psychotherapists, at no risk to the students.
The major hypothesis is that there will be a significant difference between the dogmatism scores of the experimental group who receive relaxation training and the dogmatism scores of the control group who did not receive such training.
The minor hypothesis is that there will be a significantly greater difference between the pre- and post-anxiety scores of the experimental group than between the pre-and post-anxiety scores of the control group, and the post-scores will show a downward trend.
The design of the study consisted first of selecting a group of high-anxious subjects by administering the Taylor Manifest Anxiety Scale to all students who enrolled in the beginning fundamental speech course, which totaled 427, and sending invitations to the fifty-six students who scored twenty-four and above to participate in the research study. Those who accepted were arbitrarily placed in either the control group or the experimental group depending on whether their time schedules permitted them to attend the previously-scheduled training meetings. The experimental group was given a series of six weekly training sessions of forty-five minutes each using a modified version of the Jacobson method of progressive neuro-musculature relaxation. There was no more contact with the control group until after the six-week period when both groups were administered the Rokeach Dogmatism Scale and a repeat of the Manifest Anxiety Scale. Statistical procedures were employed at this time, and since no significant differences were found both hypotheses were rejected.
The findings of this study show that the method of systematic neuro-musculature relaxation training employed did not cause significant differences in either the dogmatism or the chronic tension-anxiety level of the experimental subjects according to the measuring devices used. That the method could be used with the equipment and conditions of a normal college environment and with trained non-professionals as therapists was evident. Whether it would be useful for the reduction of chronic high tension-anxiety remains in doubt due to the uncertain motivation of the experimental subjects and the questionable sensitivity of the Manifest Anxiety Scale as a measurement of tension-anxiety change. Further study using a combination of measuring devices, including the electromyograph, is recommended.
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Barna, La Ray M., "An Empirical Study of the Effect of Systematic Relaxation Training of Chronically-Anxious Subjects on the Communication Variable of Closed-Mindedness" (1970). Dissertations and Theses. Paper 110.