A survey of public speaking anxiety in medical students


Dr. DR. FARHATAMEEN PACHAPURI, PG Part 1, DOCTOR OF MEDICINE (HOMOEOPATHY) PAEDIATRICS A.M. Shaikh Homeopathic Medical College and PG Research Center, Belgaum
Homeopathic Medical College and PG Research Center, Belgaum

4) Date of start: 01/06/2022 to 31/08/2022

5) Duration: 3 months

6)Abstract: Becoming a student in the field of health and service requires skills of public speaking. Students are trained to speak in public in order to present their project in front of the class, give opinions in the forum, give instructions to many people, etc. Unfortunately, in several occasions, there are students who showed some anxiety symptoms such as sweating, tension, trembling, nervousness, and pale face.  In this study, we aimed to explore the level of public speaking anxiety on 60 students (60 medical students).

  • Objective This study is undertaken to assess the level of public speaking anxiety in medical students
  • Method and Materials: A prospective observational study was carried out.

Results and Discussion: Total 60 students participated in the study.

Conclusion: The study would help to identify public speaking anxiety in medical students. As per the study assessment of public speaking anxiety status in medical students of fist year to final year of A.M. Shaikh homoeopathic medical college from Belgaum Karnataka is seen more in First year medical students.

Keywords Public speaking anxiety, Anxiety Questionnaire.

7) Introduction:

Most people are not born public speakers; they are trained to become one. When they find themselves in situations where they become the focus of attention as they have to address an audience, they experience emotions like fear and anxiety, leading to nausea and excessive sweating. Most of them try to avoid situations where they have to perform or speak in public, but when unavoidable, such situations are endured by distress. According to Lucas (2011), “Many people who converse easily in all kinds of everyday situations become frightened at the idea of standing up before a group to make a speech” (p.9). Such people need to realize that they are not the only ones who may be going through these emotions; in fact, almost every speaker feels the same. It is important that people consciously realize the fact that there are more nervous speakers in the world than those who are not.

Professionals are expected to regularly keep on improving their communication skills. Verderber, Sellnow and Verderber (2011) state, “Public speaking, a sustained formal presentation by a speaker to an audience, is simply one form of human communication. So, learning to be an effective public speaker will help you to be more effective in other communication settings as well” (p.2). A change in their confidence, speaking style, intonation pattern and the rest can result in a positive change in their professionalism and personality. As per the viewpoint of health care professionals, Tacheva (2013) asserts that “The verbal register, intonation, articulation, pronunciation, tone, rhythm, dialect define the character of the communicative impact as positive or negative depending on whether they facilitate or hinder the achievement of communicative purposes” (p. 605). People can overcome this problem by practicing in small groups of peers and then moving on to larger audiences. Many people are shy or afraid of speaking in front of their peers or familiar people and this can be overcome by practicing in front of unfamiliar audiences. This will increase their confidence and help them reduce their anxiety level.

Anxiety is defined as a state of uneasiness and apprehension of fear caused by the anticipation of something threatening. According to Kirkwood and Melton (2002), anxiety disorders are among the most common mental disorders encountered by public speakers. People who feel anxiety while speaking in public generally tend to avoid situations where they have to perform, but when they encounter such situations, they suffer intense distress and anxiety. According to Kant (2000), people in general negatively assess and appraise those who demonstrate their fears towards public speaking and fail to make a strong impression through confident gestures. These problems can act as hurdles in achieving one’s goals that could be both personal and professional; hence speakers need to develop strong public speaking skills to enable them to become more confident.

The purpose of this study is to identify and investigate the causes behind the anxiety level of students of public speaking in undergraduate programs and recommend steps that could be adopted to overcome their anxiety level. This study presents the reasons behind the fear of public speaking in students and problems caused by their fear. It includes the detailed description of the results and findings of the research. Thus, the following research questions will be looked into.

8) Objectives of study:

  • To assess the level of public speaking anxiety in medical students.

9) Methodology:

SOURCE OF DATA: The subjects for this study will be taken from A.M. Shaikh Homoeopathic Medical College, Hospital and Post Graduate Research Centre, Belagavi. between age group of 18 to 30 years.

The following parameters will be applied in collection of data

Study design: Prospective study

Type of research: Observational pilot study.

Selection Criteria:  Subjects of both sexes.

Duration of Study: 3 Months, Between: 01/06/2022 to 31/08/2022

Tools used in study:  Personal report of public speaking anxiety (PRPSA) from Questionaries designed by McCroskey 1970. In this survey participants were told to rate the questioners as per the below given scale rating between 1 to 5.

1(Strongly agreed),2(Agreed), 3(Undecided),4(Disagree),5(strongly disagree).

1 2 3 4 5
1 While preparing for giving a speech, I feel tense and nervous.
2 I feel tense when I see the words “speech” and “public speech”

on a course outline when studying.

3 My thoughts become confused and jumbled when I am giving

a speech.

4 Right after giving a speech, I feel that I have had a pleasant


5 I get anxious when I think about a speech coming up.
6 I have no fear of giving a speech.
7 Although I am nervous just before starting a speech, I soon

settle down after starting and feel calm and comfortable.

8 I look forward to giving a speech.
9 When the instructor announces a speaking assignment in class, I can feel myself getting tense.
10 My hands tremble when I am giving a speech.
11 I feel relaxed when I am giving a speech.
12 I enjoy preparing for a speech.
13 I am in constant fear of forgetting what I prepared to say.
14 I get anxious if someone asks me something about my topic that I do not know.
15 I face the prospect of giving a speech with confidence.
16 I feel that I am in complete possession of myself while

giving a speech.

17 My mind is clear when giving a speech.
18 I do not dread giving a speech.
19 I perspire just before starting a speech.
20 My heart beats very fast just as I start a speech.
21 I experience considerable anxiety while sitting in the room just before my speech starts.
22 Certain parts of my body feel very tense and rigid while giving a speech.
23 Realizing that only a little time remains in a speech makes me very tense and anxious.
24 While giving a speech, I know I can control my feelings of tension and stress.
25 I breathe faster just before starting a speech.
26 I feel comfortable and relaxed in the hour or so just before

giving a speech.

27 I do poorer on speeches because I am anxious.
28 I feel anxious when the teacher announces the date of a

speaking assignment.

29 When I make a mistake while giving a speech, I find it hard

to concentrate on the parts that follow.

30 During an important speech I experience a feeling of

helplessness building up inside me.

31 I have trouble falling asleep the night before a speech.
32 My heart beats very fast while I present a speech.
33 I feel anxious while waiting to give my speech.
34 While giving a speech, I get so nervous I forget facts I really know.


  • Medical students are present at the time of data collection.
  • Subjects of both the sexes of age group between 18 to 30.


  • Above age group of 30 years are excluded.

Data was entered and analyzed.

10) RESULTS: Total 60 students participated in the study, of medical student. The study was conducted between First June 2022 to First Aug and sufficient time was allowed to understand and analyse the outcome. At the end of the study the following data was observed which is placed in tabular form.

1) Age Incidence: Statistical study was done to identify the age group with highest incidence as shown in Table No.1.

TABLE :1 Age Incidence

SL NO Age in years No. of subjects Percentage
1 18 to 20 34 56.6%
2 21 to 23 16 26.6%
3 24 to 26 6 10%
4 27 to 30 4 6.6%
TOTAL 60 100%

 As shown in table, maximum incidence of public speaking anxiety was seen in age group 18 -20yrs 56.6% of the subjects (34); 26.6% of subjects were in the age group of 21-23yrs (16); 10% of subjects were in the age groups of 24-26yrs (6); 6.6% of subjects were in the age group of 27-30yrs (4).

2)  Sex Incidence: Statistical study was done to identify the sex incidence with highest incidence as shown in Table No.2

Table No. 2 –Sex Incidence

1 MALE 35 58.3%
2 FEMALE 25 41.6%
TOTAL 60 100%

11) DISCUSSION:  The study was conducted to know the difference between public speaking anxiety on the students based on the result it means that there is difference of public speaking anxiety based on characteristics of listeners on the students. public speaking anxiety as communication apprehension meaning the level of fear and anxiety of an individual related to communication activity with the person or many people.

Public speaking anxiety is social anxiety emerging in real form when doing presentations orally. According to Ramaiah (2003) anxiety is normal reaction towards stressing situation in once life and it would not stay longer.

Anxiety can positively impact on individual, if he /she can motivate themselves to learn well. Whoever over anxiety especially during public speaking will hamper an individual to show self-capacity.

The difference on anxiety impact on people is caused by the difference of each person.

Anxiety could also be caused by negative consequences from the society like criticism, inside and bad reputation as part of negative evaluation of neighborhood.

 12) CONCLUSION: As per the study assessment of public speaking anxiety status in medical students of fist year to final year of A.M. Shaikh homoeopathic medical college from Belgaum Karnataka is seen more in First year medical students. Based on the research result and discussion above, it can be concluded that anxiety effect to student’s performance, students with high anxiety have low performance and student with low anxiety would have good performance.


  1. Anxiety Level in Students of Public Speaking: Causes and Remedies – https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1161521
  2. PUBLIC SPEAKING ANXIETY – The Homeopathic Approach to Treatment of Anxiety and Depression: A Review of the History and Present Status – https://www.researchgate.net/publication/273552694_The_Homeopathic_Approach_to_Treating_Anxiety_and_Depression
  3. A Survey of Examination Phobia amongst Medical Students – http://www.ijaresm.com/a-survey-of-examination-phobia-amongst-medical-students
  4. An Experiment of public speaking anxiety on college student’s gufriyansyah reyhal and khairani Maya.


Signature of PG Scholar                                                    Signature of Guide

Dr    SAYED SAILEEN SHOWKAT                                                 Dr KIRAN PATIL

Dr FARHATAMEEN PACHAPURI                                            DR NAHIDA.M. Mulla

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