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To study the etiology of public speaking anxiety (speech phobia), 30 Ss with the fear of public speaking, and 24 controls without this fear were asked about past public speaking experiences, their beliefs about the main reason for their phobia, and their concerns in the feared situation. All speech phobics met the DSM-III-R criteria for social phobia. Results showed that traumatic external events, vicarious and informational learning--the causes for phobia that fit in best with Rachman's conditioning theory--were notably uncommon among these phobics, who attributed their fear most often to panic attacks. Yet it was not clear whether panic attacks were causes or consequences of phobia.


Journal article


Behav Res Ther

Publication Date





567 - 571


Adult, Anxiety, Arousal, Conditioning, Classical, Female, Humans, Internal-External Control, Male, Middle Aged, Phobic Disorders, Social Environment, Social Perception, Verbal Behavior