Students' communication apprehension and its effects on PBL performance

Amy V. Blue, Terry D. Stratton, Michael B. Donnelly, Phyllis P. Nash, Richard W. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


This study examined the relationship between medical students' communication apprehension and their performance in problem-based learning (PBL) sessions as assessed by the tutor and by their knowledge acquisition. At the beginning of the third-year surgery clerkship, the Personal Report of Communication Apprehension (PRCA-24) was administered to 85 medical students. The PRCA-24 scores of students in the PBL curriculum were correlated with two outcome-based measures: evaluations by faculty tutors of the students' performance in the PBL sessions, and a modified essay examination designed to measure students' knowledge derived from PBL sessions. Students with high levels of communication apprehension had significantly greater difficulty participating in PBL sessions, as shown by their tutor evaluations. However, their levels of communication apprehension did not correlate with their performance on the modified essay examination. These findings indicate that students' apprehension about communication in group settings affects PBL tutor evaluations of their performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-221
Number of pages5
JournalMedical Teacher
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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