A Systematic Review of Self-Coping Strategies Used by University Students to Cope with Public Speaking Anxiety

  •  Xue Ting Tee    
  •  Wirawahida Kamarulzaman    
  •  Tjin Ai Tan Joanna    


Despite a growing body of research on instructor techniques and treatments to mitigate public speaking anxiety, this issue remains prominent, especially among university students. An alternative to mitigating such anxiety is to identify authentic coping strategies that university students could practice in actual situations. Numerous studies have attempted to explore students’ personal and social factors with the objective of suggesting suitable coping strategies to reduce the fear of public speaking. This paper reviews the existing evidence to understand the complexities of strategies that university students use to reduce their fear of public speaking.  Nine peer-reviewed studies published between 2015 and 2020 were selected for this review from Science Direct and Google Scholar, using search terms such as “public speaking anxiety” and “coping strategies.” The analysis revealed that university students who (a) had an intermediate level of English language proficiency and a high level of speaking anxiety adopted both compensation and metacognitive strategies; (b) had a high level of English language proficiency and speaking anxiety adopted the affective strategy; and (c) had a high level of speaking anxiety and were exposed to full English medium instruction contexts adopted both social and memory strategies. This review, therefore, provides a better understanding of how university students cope with public speaking anxiety and at the same time urges educators to refine their pedagogical methods to lower the psychological barrier of speaking.

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