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Abstract

This study examines the relationship between a required self-disclosure speech and public speaking anxiety levels expressed by student speakers. If students report higher anxiety levels when asked to self-disclose during a speech, then the potential classroom climate warming advantages of such an assignment may not outweigh the disadvantages. Results indicated: (1) that most students did not report increased anxiety when presenting the self-disclosure speech; (2) there appeared to be no significant gender differences with regard to anxiety and self-disclosure in a public speaking situation; (3) students revealed that feeling confident, in control, and respected are primary factors necessary to reduce public speaking anxiety; and (4) significant gender differences existed in terms of topic selection and thematic content used in supporting material. Consequently, a required self-disclosure speech may be used equitably to warm the classroom climate and reduce public speaking anxiety as long as students are provided freedom in terms of topic selection and development.

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