Estimating an Individual's Location Along the Trait-State Continuum: A Method for Improving the Precision of Measurement of CA Using the PRCA-24

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The construct Communication Apprehension (CA) has generated a great deal of attention in the discipline of speech communication. Its use has been widespread for researchers and theoreticians and also for the speech teacher. Thus, the ability to measure CA accurately is very important. This paper addresses the measurement of trait-like vs more state-like CA. While most researchers have used the sum or mean scores for the 24 items on the PRCA-24 as a measure of trait-like CA we argue in support of the position taken by King, Anderson, and Carlson (1988), that it is done for convenience and adds error to the measurement of CA. Specifically, we suggest that the level of generalized-context vs trait-like CA exists along a continuum. Further, the between context variance score (variance between CA in groups, meetings, conversations, and public speaking contexts) is the appropriate estimator of the level of generalized-context or trait-like CA.