Title page for ETD etd-09112007-171749

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Hannesdottir, Dagmar Kristin
Author's Email Address dkh@vt.edu
URN etd-09112007-171749
Title Reduction of fear arousal in young adults with speech anxiety through elicitation of positive emotions
Degree PhD
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Ollendick, Thomas H. Committee Chair
Bell, Martha Ann Committee Member
Clum, George A. Jr. Committee Member
Dunsmore, Julie C. Committee Member
Scarpa-Friedman, Angela Committee Member
  • positive emotions
  • speech anxiety
  • Emotion regulation
  • college students
Date of Defense 2007-08-31
Availability unrestricted
A research study was conducted to examine Fredrickson’s Broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions in a speech anxious sample of undergraduate students. Experimental elicitation of positive emotions has previously been shown to speed cardiovascular recovery, increase attention, and broaden thought-action repertoires compared to elicitation of negative or neutral emotions (Fredrickson et al., 2000). 88 undergraduate students were selected from a screening process based on their reported speech anxiety on the Personal Report of Confidence as a Speaker (PRCS). Students who reported low or high speech anxiety completed an anxiety provoking task and were subsequently exposed to either a neutral emotion condition (“Pipes” film) or one of two positive emotion conditions (“Puppy” film or thinking of a happy memory task). Fredrickson’s theory was not supported since results showed no differences in cardiovascular recovery, thought-action repertoires, or global thinking for either groups or conditions. However, differences were found for broadened scope of attention on a modified Stroop task where the low anxiety group responded faster to threat words in the neutral and happy memory conditions than after viewing a positive film. Results of the study are discussed in light of attribution theory of emotion and previous studies on the effects of positive emotions.

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