Using the Communication of Police Officers to Assess the Relationship Between Self-Talk and Communication Apprehension


Doctoral Thesis / Dissertation, 2020

199 Pages, Grade: n/a


Excerpt

Table of Contents

List of Tables

List of Figures

Chapter 1: Introduction to the Study
Introduction
Background of the Study
Problem Statement
Purpose of This Study
Research Questions and Hypotheses
Variables of interest in this study
Research questions and hypotheses
Answering the research questions
Advancing Scientific Knowledge and Significance of Study
Advancing scientific knowledge
Significance of the study
Rationale of Methodology
Nature of the Research Design for the Study
Definitions of Terms
Assumptions, Limitations, Delimitations
Assumptions
Limitations
Delimitations
Summary and Organization of the Remainder of the Study

Chapter 2: Literature Review
Introduction to the Chapter and Background to the Problem
Identification of the Gap
Theoretical Foundations
Self-talk
Communication apprehension
Police officer communication
Communication accommodation theory
Predictions
Research questions
Review of the Literature
Self-talk
What is self-talk?
Communication apprehension
Police officer communication
Methodologies
Tools
Summary

Chapter 3: Methodology
Introduction
Statement of the Problem
Research Questions and Hypotheses
Measured variables
Research questions and hypotheses
Answering the research questions
Research Methodology
Research Design
Choosing Kendall’s tau-b (τb) correlation analysis
Not focusing on causation
Identifying communication patterns using a correlational analysis
Self-talk and communication apprehension and their possible relationship
How data were collected
Population and Sample Selection
Population
Sample size
Type of sampling
Collecting data
Instrumentation
Self-talk scale
The personal report of communication apprehension
Validity
Reliability
Data Collection and Management
Data Analysis Procedures
Ethical Considerations
Belmont report principles
Data management and disposal
Limitations and Delimitations
Limitations
Delimitations
Summary

Chapter 4: Data Analysis and Results
Introduction
Descriptive Findings
Data Analysis Procedures
Results
Results for research questions
Summary

Chapter 5: Summary, Conclusions, and Recommendations
Introduction and Summary of Study
Summary of Study
Summary of Findings and Conclusion
Results for research question number one – i.e. RQ
Results for research question number two – i.e. RQ
Conclusion
Implications
Theoretical implications
Practical implications
Future implications
Strengths and weaknesses of the study
Recommendations
Recommendations for future research
Recommendations for future practice

References

Appendix A. Site Authorization Letter

Appendix B. IRB Approval Letter

Appendix C. Informed Consent

Appendix D. Copy of Instruments and Permissions Letters to Use the Instruments

Appendix E. G*Power Outputs

Appendix F. Scatterplots

GRAND CANYON UNIVERSITY

Using the Communication of Police Officers to Assess the Relationship Between Self-Talk and Communication Apprehension

I verify that my dissertation represents original research, is not falsified or plagiarized, and that I have accurately reported, cited, and referenced all sources within this manuscript in strict compliance with APA and Grand Canyon University (GCU) guidelines. I also verify my dissertation complies with the approval(s) granted for this research investigation by GCU Institutional Review Board (IRB).

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Abstract

The purpose of this quantitative correlational study was to assess the relationship between self-talk and communication apprehension among police officers within a western city police department (WCPD). Within the framework of the communication accommodation theory, the researcher expected that police officers would use self-talk to mitigate apprehension by adjusting their communication with the publics they engage with. The researcher collected data from a convenience sample of 50 police officers from WCPD using the Personal Report of Communication Apprehension and the Self-Talk Scale. The results of the Kendall’s tau-b correlation analysis showed a small significant inverse (negative) correlation between self-talk and communication apprehension (τb = - 0.263, p < 0.01) and a moderate significant direct (positive) correlation between self-talk and the public speaking component of communication apprehension (τb = 0.550, p < 0.001). The results for RQ1 suggest that high self-talk usage are associated with low scores of communication apprehension. The results for RQ2 suggest that high scores of self-talk usage are associated with high scores for the public speaking component of communication apprehension. These findings justify further research with larger samples, more representative of WCPD officers, whose results could serve as a basis for developing training for this population.

Keywords: communication apprehension, police officers, public speaking, self-talk

Dedication

I dedicate my dissertation to my mother, Patricia, my sister, Fatima, and the rest of my family for always supporting me.

List of Tables

Table 1. Gender: Descriptive Statistics

Table 2. Years as a Police Officer in Range: Descriptive Statistics

Table 3. Self-Talk, Communication Apprehension, Public Speaking Component: Descriptive Statistics

Table 4. Self-Talk, Communication Apprehension, Public Speaking Component: Reliability Statistics

Table 5. Kendall’s tau-b (τb) Correlation Coefficients: Self-Talk (ST), Communication Apprehension (CA), and Public Speaking Component (PS)

List of Figures

Figure E1. A priori sample size computation for parametric Pearson's r correlational analysis .

Chapter 1: Introduction to the Study Introduction

The purpose of this quantitative correlational study was to assess the relationship between self-talk and communication apprehension in police officers from a western city police department. Police officers from a western city police department were recruited as voluntary participants. As part of their job, they may use self-talk when aiming to establish a positive rapport with the public (Duff, 2010). Prior research on self-talk and communication apprehension, related to performance, found that these two variables had a potential association (Shi, Brinthaupt, & McCree, 2015). Communication apprehension occurs when an individual suffers fear or anxiety surrounding communication in any arena, large or small (Shi et al., 2015). Self-talk is described as a mental cognitive strategy that is domain specific used to achieve a desirable performance surrounding a task. Performance has been shown to be influenced by the presence of internal barriers that lead to social anxiety, with social anxiety negatively impacting the communication of an individual. As a result, a common challenge that develops is in the form of communication apprehension.

To assess the relationship between self-talk and communication apprehension a quantitative analysis was performed using a correlational analysis. The bivariate relationship between self-talk and communication apprehension was analyzed to determine the direction, strength, and significance of the correlation between variables. The results of the quantitative analysis would help in addressing the gap in literature centering on self-talk and communication.

The remainder of this chapter elaborates on the problem statement, as well as the purpose of this study. The purpose of this quantitative correlational study was to assess the relationship between self-talk and communication apprehension in police officers from a western city police department. This was done by performing a correlational analysis and establishing research questions and hypotheses that would guide the research. In addition, further chapter sections include the rationale behind the methodology used to gather and analyze data, the definition of terms relating to this study, limitations and assumptions that were encountered, as well as what other chapters of this study entail.

Background of the Study

Self-talk is believed to be associated with the confidence of an individual when performing a task (Shi et al., 2015). As a phenomenon, self-talk is described as a silent or vocalized dialog with one’s own self that can be used to boost confidence and self-efficacy, maintain focus and clear distractions, and to conquer social anxiety relating to fear of communication (Shi et al., 2015). Additionally, as discussed by the work of Shi et al. (2015), self-talk can potentially have a positive individual impact in improving communication, specifically apprehension surrounding public speaking.

Communication apprehension occurs when an individual encounters social anxiety when anticipating social interactions (Shi et al., 2015). Individuals who find themselves in daily high-stress scenarios may frequently encounter communication apprehension during a social interaction as they aim to communicate effectively. To avoid social anxiety, individuals may mentally prepare to build their confidence levels to avoid negative outcomes from occurring in public arenas (Helgadottir, Menzies, Onslow, Packman, & O’Brian, 2014). Mentally preparing can be done in the form of self-talk. As a result, a significant correlation can be hypothesized to exist between self-talk and communication apprehension.

The significant correlation between self-talk and communication apprehension can only be hypothesized as research connecting both variables is scarce. Noteworthy research that has been conducted per Shi et al. (2015) used a regression analysis to discover that low scores of communication apprehension have been associated with high self-reporting of mental preparation, with self-talk discussed as a form of mental preparation. Similarly, a lack of confidence relating to communication apprehension has been found to be linked to speaking to large crowds by individuals who believed they were either unfamiliar or ill-prepared to address large crowds (Thomas, Tymon, & Thomas, 1994). The empirical study conducted by Thomas et al. (1994) discovered that communication apprehension was associated with diminished performance and that greater preparation was not an effective way of coping with apprehension. The lack of confidence and presence of communication apprehension was believed to occur because the act of public speaking to large crowds has been associated with negative self-focus and a decrease in perspective-taking, resulting in a weak rapport (Thomas et al., 1994). Furthermore, research has noted that for a shared mindset ( i.e. being able to agree on the same ideal) to occur within a collaborate environment, communication must be rooted in confidence and must be free of self-doubt that may impact the communication intent delivered (Bratu, 2014a). Considering notable research has been individually conducted on both variables, a hypothesis can be established that self-talk is associated with communication apprehension.

To assess the relationships between self-talk and communication apprehension and self-talk and the public speaking component of communication apprehension, police officers were selected as the population of interest. Police officers from a western city police department were the target population for this study. Police officers from a western city police department answered questions surrounding self-talk and communication apprehension using self-reporting tools. Police officers from a western city police department engage with civilians (i.e. the public) daily, often in high-stress scenarios, in which successful communication is vital to establish a strong rapport rooted in trust. Such communication is essential when gathering testimonies, dealing with unruly crowds, and communicating with leadership. As part of their daily activities, police officers additionally must maintain a positive mindset regarding their communication skills, as these skills impact the rhetoric used in their public encounters.

Problem Statement

Prior to this study it was not known if and to what extent there was a relationship between self-talk and communication apprehension in police officers from a western city police department. Further research was needed to assess the relationship between self-talk and communication apprehension to better understand this association. Individually, self-talk works as a cognitive strategy used to maintain focus and control anxiety, but understanding the impact it has on communication apprehension needs further elaboration (Shi et al., 2015). Communication apprehension has been found to exist when a lack of confidence negatively influences how individuals deal with open communication in group settings. The relationship between self-talk and communication was explored further by considering individuals who find themselves in high-stress situations daily.

To help examine the relationship between self-talk and communication apprehension, data were collected using questionnaires that police offers from a western city police department completed. As part of their daily job responsibilities, police officers rely on public communication to connect with the public, which can lead to communication challenges (Gorringe, Scott, & Rosie, 2012; Johnston & Mcgovern, 2013). Challenges police officers encounter that lead to communication apprehension include but are not limited to message diffusion (decoding of public messaging), leveraging rhetoric to successfully establish a communication intent, and establishing a strong and steady rapport with individuals for the sake of gaining public trust (Gorringe et al., 2012). Additional communication challenges include speaking to large crowds that may act unruly to aiming to defuse protests that can potentially turn violent (Gorringe et al., 2012; Johnston & Mcgovern, 2013). Further challenges center on working with individuals that may suffer from mental illness and fear police officers to prepping before a trial to give a clear and concise testimony (Gorringe et al., 2012; Johnston & Mcgovern, 2013).

A police officer who suffers from communication apprehension may rely heavily on the use of verbal utterances (e.g. hmm, uhh), which creates an image of being unprepared and encountering a lack of trust from the public. By leveraging self-talk as a cognitive strategy to prep oneself, police officers can place themselves in the shoes of the public and take part in a social assessment to understand what is being expected of them. A social assessment is an extension of self-talk used as a form of cognitively appraising others and examining how others would respond and feel to what would be said (Helgadottir et al., 2014).

The communication challenges police officers face set the stage to assess the relationship between self-talk and communication apprehension. This relationship was assessed by performing a correlational analysis. While a correlational analysis does not establish a cause-and-effect relationship, it does assess the relationship between variables. This assessment provides police officers with results they might take into consideration in shaping their communication strategies. While not all police agencies operate the same, there is arguably a mutual level of understanding between what each agency experiences due to being in the same field of work. Thus, police officers of all agencies may potentially relate to these findings. They may look at prior incidents in which communication was a factor that caused turmoil and take into consideration if self-talk is a strategy that can be used to improve communication. Such turmoil can be detainees not being clear as to why they’ve been arrested, having a difficult time at a press conference in which details of an incident must be shared, to simply engaging in group work in order to ensure the safety of individuals in times of disorder.

Purpose of This Study

The purpose of this quantitative correlational study was to assess the relationship between self-talk and communication apprehension in police officers from a western city police department. The relationship was determined by performing a correlational analysis. Self-talk was defined as a cognitive strategy used to enhance performance and increase performance in a domain-related setting (Hatzigeorgiadis, Zourbanos, & Theodorakis, 2007). Communication apprehension was defined as the anxiety individuals encounter when communicating, therefore influencing the decoding and encoding of messages (Shi et al, 2015). While both phenomena were established in research, there were gaps in marrying the findings of self-talk and communication apprehension. Research identifies mental preparation as a means to decrease communication apprehension, while briefly evaluating the impact self-talk may have in decreasing communication apprehension as a form of mental preparation (Hatzigeorgiadis et al., 2007; Shi et al, 2015).

This gap surrounding the relationship between both variables - self-talk and communication apprehension - was addressed using a correlational analysis. By using a correlational analysis, researchers can assess the relationship between two variables, as well as uncover key data patterns on the surface that may not be available on a more latent level (Baldner & McGinley, 2014). Both self-talk and communication apprehension were assessed to see if the variables negatively move in tandem with each other. It was hypothesized that when self-talk increases, communication apprehension simultaneously decreases, or when self-talk decreases, communication apprehension increases.

A small sample size of 50 police officers from a western city police department was utilized to determine if a significant relationship exists between self-talk and communication apprehension and between self-talk and the public speaking component of communication apprehension. The sample size of 50 was too small to conduct a Pearson’s r correlation analysis, which required a sample size of 84 per the results of the G*Power analysis. As a result, a Kendall's tau-b (τb) correlation coefficient analysis was conducted, which is deemed acceptable when using smaller sample sizes (Laerd Statistics, 2017). The results of the G*Power analysis can be found in Appendix E. A G*Power analysis is a tool used for an array of tests to determine effect sizes and the necessary sample size needed for a study (Barnham, 2015). Data for evaluation were collected using questionnaires focused on self-talk and communication apprehension administered to police officers within a western city police department after a public speaking engagement. Prior to questionnaire distribution, the researcher briefed participants on terminology related to this study. It was further assumed that every individual would then have a complete understanding of the terminology used, as well as answered honestly. There was no control nor monitoring of extraneous independent variables that may influence self-talk and communication apprehension. Only self-talk and communication apprehension were the variables being measured. Extraneous variables that were not measured include the emotional state of an individual when communicating publicly, the size of a crowd, to sensations such as feeling hungry or thirsty.

Police officers were chosen as the population of interest because they have experience in using public communication to build strong and healthy rapports with the public to diffuse negative schemas (Johnston & Mcgovern, 2013). In their daily communication with the public, especially in a high-stress situation, communication apprehension may exist when diffusing negative schemes and to gain public trust. Analyzing survey data from instruments that measure self-talk and communication apprehension would help address the gap between self-talk and communication apprehension. Such data was used to perform the correlational analysis for this study. To collect sample data from police officers, a western city police department was chosen for convenience due to the agency being the local agency for the researcher. After data were collected, the results of the correlational analysis focusing on self-talk and communication apprehension of 50 police officers within a western city police department may be of interest to police officers in understanding the relationship between self-talk and communication apprehension.

Research Questions and Hypotheses

The researcher used a correlation analysis to assess the direction, strength, and significance of the relationship between self-talk and communication apprehension in police officers from a western city police department. The research questions were answered from findings produced from a correlational analysis on self-talk and communication apprehension. The data were collected from a sample of police officers from a western city police department to perform the intended correlational analysis.

Variables of interest in this study. Three variables were used in the analysis to address the research questions and hypotheses. The variables that were used in the analysis to address the research questions and hypotheses for this study were self-talk, communication apprehension, and the public speaking component of communication apprehension. The first research question focused on self-talk and communication apprehension, while the second research question focused on self-talk and the public speaking component of communication apprehension.

Self-talk. The variable for self-talk was derived from the Self-Talk Scale, with a final summation score produced after completing the Self-Talk Scale in its entirety. This variable was used to address both RQ1 and RQ2 and the accompanying hypotheses regarding the relationship between self-talk and communication apprehension and self- talk and the public speaking component of communication apprehension. Conceptually self-talk is defined as a cognitive strategy used to accomplish a task (Shi et al., 2015). Operationally, self-talk is linked to positive and negative self-affirmations, as it is believed that the use of self-talk is associated with confidence and self-efficacy of an individual (Hardy, Begley, & Blanchfield, 2015; Hatzigeorgiadis, Zourbanos, Goltsios, & Theodorakis, 2008). Lastly, the measurement of self-talk is conducted through self-reported tools, with the Self-Talk Scale predominately used to measure self-talk, which was established by Brinthaupt, Hein, & Kramer (2009).

Communication apprehension. The variable for communication apprehension was derived from the Personal Report of Communication Apprehension. The final summation score produced after completing the Personal Report of Communication Apprehension in its entirety was used to address RQ1 and its accompanying hypotheses in assessing the relationship between self-talk and communication apprehension. Conceptually, communication apprehension is defined as an individual’s level of fear and anxiety associated with the act of communication within a setting (Shi et al., 2015). Operationally, communication apprehension is associated with unresolved social phobia and negatively impacting an individual’s decision-making skills and interpersonal interactions (Helgadottir et al., 2014; Niles, Craske, Lieberman, & Hur, 2015). To measure communication apprehension, self-reported tools are used, with the Personal Report of Communication of Apprehension predominately used to measure communication apprehension, which was established by McCroskey, Beatty, & Kearney (1985).

The public speaking component of communication apprehension. The variable representing public speaking was derived from the Personal Report of Communication Apprehension. The final summation score was produced after completing questions 19, 21, and 23 and deducting the answers from questions 20, 22, and 24, while to ensure that positive-key items and negative-key items were consistent with what each question implied (i.e. “agree” or “disagree” with), negative-key items were reversed scored (Pribyl, Keaten, Sakamoto, & Koshikawa, 1998; Shi et al., 2015). This score addressed RQ2 and its accompanying hypotheses. Conceptually, the public speaking component of communication apprehension is defined as an individual’s level of fear and anxiety associated with public speaking, contributing to an individual’s communication apprehension (Shi et al., 2015). Operationally, the public speaking component of communication apprehension takes into account changes in body language, the emotional state of feeling relaxed during public communication, as well as encountering fear when giving a speech (Helgadottir et al., 2014; Niles et al., 2015). To measure the public speaking component of communication apprehension, self-reported tools are used, with the Personal Report of Communication of Apprehension predominately used to measure the public speaking component of communication apprehension, which was established by McCroskey et al. (1985).

Research questions and hypotheses. The research questions and hypotheses for this study were the following:

RQ1: Is there a significant relationship between self-talk and communication apprehension in police officers from a western city police department?

H10: There is not a statistically significant relationship between self-talk and communication apprehension in police officers from a western city police department.

H1a: There is a statistically significant relationship between self-talk and communication apprehension in police officers from a western city police department.

RQ2: Is there a significant relationship between self-talk and the public speaking component of communication apprehension in police officers from a western city police department?

H20: There is not a statistically significant relationship between self-talk and the public speaking component of communication apprehension in police officers from a western city police department.

H2a: There is a statistically significant relationship between self-talk and the public speaking component of communication apprehension in police officers from a western city police department who engage in public speaking.

Answering the research questions. To address the research questions and accompanying hypotheses, a quantitative correlational study was performed to analyze the relationship between self-talk and communication apprehension. All data for this study were collected from police officers within a western city police department answering self-rated questionnaires, the Personal Report of Communication Apprehension test and Self-Talk Scale, established by McCroskey et al. (1985) and Brinthaupt et al. (2009), respectively. The questionnaires were used to address the use of self-talk and the presence of communication apprehension as it related to any public communication done by police officers in the sample. The questionnaires acted as the primary data-collecting tools, with no additional need for secondary sources to collect data. The results of the G*Power analysis can be found in Appendix E, which indicted a minimum sample size of 84 needed for a Pearson’s r correlation analysis. However, a convenience sample of 50 was recruited; thus, a non-parametric Kendall’s tau-b (τb) correlation analysis was used to test the hypotheses.

Advancing Scientific Knowledge and Significance of Study

Advancing scientific knowledge. This study advanced scientific knowledge by elaborating on the relationship between self-talk and communication apprehension using the communication of police officers from a western city police department. Furthermore, the findings of the study may be referenced in further studies relating to other forms of communication (e.g. body language) and cognitive strategies related to self-talk (e.g. perspective-taking, self-efficacy). Understanding the relationship between self-talk and communication apprehension was inspired by the body of research surrounding both variables. The phenomenon of self-talk associates self-statements that are linked to behavior adjustment, such as helping control anxiety, boost confidence and develop cognitive strategies to complete a task (Shi et al., 2015). To elaborate, depending on the type of self-talk leveraged, whether it is negative self-critical or positive self-reinforcing, the positive effect on behavior can either be seen in the form of a performance booster via positive self-reinforcing talk or a performance obstructer via negative self-critical talk (Shi et al., 2015). Thus, it can be hypothesized that self-talk is a cognitive strategy that influences performance. Enhancing an individual’s performance through self-statements can potentially lead to an improvement in communication. This can be argued by taking into account the communication accommodation theory.

The communication accommodation theory highlights that individuals regulate their communication based on the individuals they are interacting with (Hordila -Vatamanescu & Pana, 2010). Communication is altered in order to avoid miscommunication, decrease any social differences, and to improve interpersonal communication between the speaker and the receiver. To elaborate, to regulate communication, self-talk may be leveraged to improve confidence, while simultaneously hoping to decrease any social anxiety relating to communication.

Individually, the concept of communication apprehension implies that communication apprehension exists because of an individual’s level of fear and anxiety associated with the act of communication, real and anticipated. Research surrounding communication apprehension has found that when there is a high level of anxiety relating to a lack of confidence, there is a creation of threat-related cognitive thoughts that overwhelm a person’s ability to process experiences in non-threatening ways (Shi et al., 2015). These threat-related cognitive thoughts are often the result of misinterpreting information, being unprepared and believing a sense of judgment would occur, to believing the wrong type of wardrobe would cause public backlash (Shi et al., 2015). By addressing the lack of confidence prior to communication, it can be hypothesized that any apprehension surrounding communication would show a decrease, alongside the threat-related cognitive thoughts that develop because of the apprehension experience.

As variables that are associated with performance, there was potential to explore what relationship existed between self-talk and communication apprehension, in which the results can be used to add to existing literature. Literature associates self-talk with performance in regard to completing a task, while communication has been similarly associated with performance (Shi et al., 2015). Communication apprehension itself is a concept that centers on anticipated fear and anxiety relating to all forms of communication, in which fear and anxiety may be conquered using positive reinforcement self-statement (Shi et al., 2015). The results of this research can be used to add a layer of context in understanding the relationship between self-talk and communication apprehension, in which future studies can leverage for reference. However, research surrounding the relationship between both variables was scarce and it was only be speculated what relationship existed when both variables were observed together. It was only hypothesized that the presence of self-talk correlated with a decrease in communication apprehension because prior researchers lacked sufficient data to test this.

To conduct this research, police officers were chosen as the population of interest because of how often they need to rely on communication to perform their daily duties. A western city police department was chosen as the target population for this study due to being the local agency where the researcher resides in. Police officers find themselves in high-stress situations in which effective communication is required when interacting with witnesses and detainees, giving public speeches, as well as providing testimonies (Duff, 2010). Because of their frequent use of communication and the challenges encountered, understanding if self-talk is utilized can serve as the backdrop in assessing the relationship between self-talk and communication. Furthermore, the need to understand the relationship between self-talk and communication apprehension was supported by prior research stressing the importance of mental preparation as a tactic to overcome communication challenges and self-talk being recommended as a strategy to improve concentration when aiming to accomplish a task (Arnold, Baltzell, & Hayden, 2016).

To address this gap, a correlational analysis was conducted to highlight the association between self-talk and communication apprehension. The data to perform the correlational analysis were collected from police officers within a western city police department. As alluded on, efficient communication plays an important part in the responsibilities of being a police officer. As a result, communication apprehension can occur when working alongside public witnesses, to taking part in a trial and having to provide a testimony (Duff, 2010).

While this study strictly focused on the variables of self-talk and communication apprehension, future studies can include other cognitive-related variables (e.g. perspective-taking, self-efficacy) in their analysis. For example, additional research might be conducted that includes perspective-taking to determine what influence perspective-taking may have on communication apprehension when observed alongside self-talk. The results of this study can serve as a benchmark for sure analyses when comparing results that include other cognitive-related variables. Researchers can formulate new theories and hypotheses addressing which factors are strongly associated with performance. The findings of this study can be expanded on in thinking of preparation strategies tailored to individuals who find themselves in high-stress situations. New training programs can potentially be devised in which a breakdown of self-talk is discussed and how it may influence communication.

Significance of the study. The research aimed to assess the relationship between self-talk and communication apprehension using survey response of police officers from a western city police department. The strength of the relationship between both variables was used to address a gap in research surrounding self-talk and communication apprehension, while simultaneously marrying the concepts and phenomena surrounding both variables. Individual research on the concepts and phenomena of self-talk and communication apprehension can be found; however, studies addressing the relationship between both variables was scarce. Because of this, the correlational analysis performed surrounding the association between self-talk and communication apprehension was used to connect the research surrounding both self-talk and communication.

It has been alluded that communication apprehension can be overcome by using positive re-enforcement in the form of internal dialogue (Datta & Das, 2016). Research surrounding self-talk stated it is a cognitive strategy to improve performance and confidence when executing a skill and performing a task (Hardy et al., 2015). When employed, self-talk is used in the hope of achieving a desirable result (Arnold et al., 2016). In analyzing the research surrounding self-talk and communication apprehension, a connection was found that if self-talk is a cognitive strategy associated with performance and communication via positive self-reinforcement, then arguably self-talk would correlate with a decrease in communication apprehension. While such an argument can be made, research connecting the concepts and phenomena of self-talk and communication apprehension was conducted to support such an argument.

By analyzing survey responses from police officers from a western city police department regarding communication apprehension and self-talk, the relationship between self-talk and communication apprehension was elaborated on to address the gap in literature. Police officers from various agencies might potentially use this research to re-evaluate their communication tactics and help understand to what extent are they encountering communication apprehension. Such potential use may include how to improve police officer training surrounding how to establish a rapport, how to communicate interpersonally within a group environment to ensure teamwork is being utilized to reach goals, to even how to prepare for a testimony and ensure anxiety is controlled. The communication of police officers can be micro-analyzed, thanks in part to how media advancements (e.g. social media) allow for the ability of incidents to go viral (Johnston & Mcgovern, 2013). A study such as this one can help open the discussion of what communication tactics have been implemented and if training on how to use self-talk should be considered. Aside from police officers, other individuals in professions in which they find themselves in high-stress situations can use the results of this study to shape their own communication strategies as it relates to public speaking and decreasing high levels of anxiety that negatively influence confidence.

Findings of this research may be used to build on understanding how other cognitive strategies (such as perspective-taking) can be used alongside self-talk to improve communication (e.g. public speaking, decreased apprehension). Future studies can include other cognitive-based factors in their own research, such as perspective-taking or self-efficacy, to determine how the performance of other cognitive-based factors alongside communication apprehension. Thus, researchers can begin to gather new findings and create new hypotheses that drive the understanding of what impacts performance.

Rationale of Methodology

This study used a quantitative methodology to determine what relationship existed between self-talk and communication apprehension by collecting data relating to the communication of police officers from a western city police department. A qualitative methodology, opposed to a quantitative methodology or mixed methods methodology involving a qualitative methodology, was not considered because the research was not focused in understanding the phenomena of self-talk and communication apprehension through a narrative approach via a qualitative methodology. The phenomena of self-talk and communication apprehension have been explored, understood, and established in prior research – which was not the objective looking to be met. The objective of a quantitative methodology is to connect the data surrounding phenomena to understand the strength of the relationship between the respected variables (Park & Park, 2016). That was the objective of this study in understanding what relationship existed between self-talk and communication apprehension through the analysis of data.

To further elaborate as to why a quantitative methodology was considered, there has been an abundance of research in which a quantitative methodology has been used to investigate the impact of self-talk in social settings. By using Likert-scales, quantitative research has been used to rate the language an individual uses to describe themselves and how such self-evaluations act as a mechanism that impacts goal-directed behavior (Patrick & Hagtvedt, 2012). In addition, prior research has shown that quantitative analyses focusing on communication have shown to be useful in identifying if the inclusion of a specific cognitive-related variable has an influence on the success of communication (Revelle & Oehlberg, 2008).

Nature of the Research Design for the Study

The researcher used a correlational design to assess the direction, strength, and significance of the relationship between self-talk and communication apprehension in police officers from a western city police department. The correlational coefficient between self-talk and communication apprehension helped assess the strength of the relationship between self-talk and communication apprehension. The variables were assessed via Kendall’s tau-b (τb) correlation analysis. Furthermore, establishing a cause-and-effect relationship between self-talk and communication apprehension was not a goal for this study as correlations never imply nor focus on cause-and-effect relationships. A cause-and-effect relationship would be difficult due to the inclusion of additional outside variables that can be a challenge to control and measure when focusing on self-talk and communication apprehension (Shi et al, 2015).

Such outside variables included crowd size, length of communication, religious beliefs, emotional state, unforeseen circumstances occurring in real-time, lack of sleep, discussion topics, room temperature, and even bodily functions such as hunger and thirst impacting communication. Because of the abundance of outside variables that were not being measured within this study, establishing a cause-and-effect was not the goal of the research conducted. A correlational analysis was ideal because it provided insight into the relationship between self-talk and communication apprehension to determine the strength in which these moved in tandem.

There has been research to support the use of correlational analyses in identifying communication patterns in social interactions. It was found that a correlational analysis can be implemented to track the increase of speech signals to signal the end and start of verbal communication. For example, the use of eye gazes rises when speakers end their turn in communicating, signaling the end of a social interaction (Ho, Foulsham, & Kingstone, 2015). By replicating a similar correlational analysis, the self-talk was correlated with communication apprehension. By performing a correlational analysis, if the two variables had a negative significant correlation, then the argument can be made that the presence of self-talk was associated with a decrease in communication apprehension or self-talk was associated with an increase in communication apprehension.

A research design using a correlational analysis was additionally chosen against all other designs due to the population of interest not being intended to be divided into groups to be tested. This study solely focused on the analysis of two variables at a time. While other quantitative designs such as experimental and causal-comparative involve comparisons of groups in terms of one or more ordinal or continuous variables, that was not the intent of this research (Gilron, Rosenblatt, Koyejo, Poldrack, & Mukamel, 2017; Hatzigeorgiadis et al., 2007; Hatzigeorgiadis et al., 2008). This study was specifically leveraging a correlational analysis to assess the bivariate relationships of variables in a sample of police officers from a western city police department.

In summary, the design of this research was meant to conduct a correlational analysis to assess the strength, direction, and significance of the relationship between self-talk and communication apprehension. The data collected using self-rated questionnaires administered to police officers from a western city police department. The self-rated questionnaires were the Personal Report of Communication Apprehension and Self-Talk Scale, established by McCroskey et al. (1985) and Brinthaupt et al. (2009), respectively. Lastly, a sample size of 50 police officers from a western city police department was used. The sample size was deemed acceptable for a Kendall’s tau-b (τb) correlation analysis (Laerd Statistics, 2017).

Definitions of Terms

The following terms were used throughout this study in compiling supporting research, distributing the data analyses collection tools, and when engaging with the target population.

Cognitive strategy: Cognitive strategy is defined as the planning behind the execution of a skill (Kross et al., 2014). A cognitive strategy influences the execution of skills relating to domain-specific tasks and achieving performance goals (Kross et al., 2014).

Communication apprehension: Communication apprehension is a communication challenge rooted in an individual’s fear and anxiety associated with all modes of communication (Pribyl et al., 1998). Communication challenges that lead to communication apprehension can occur because of ill-preparedness, lack of confidence, social phobia, not fully understanding audiences, and difficulty establishing proper communication intents (Helgadottir et al., 2014).

Communication intent: A communication intent is understanding the intended message the speaker is conveying. A communication intent requires the mental agility from the listener, which requires taking each other’s perspectives into consideration to successfully understand the intended meaning behind the communication occurring (Bratu, 2014b).

Interpersonal relationships: Interpersonal relationships refers to the connection and association between two or more people, often rooted in communication (Erozkan, 2013).

Perspective-taking: Perspective-taking is making the cognitive effort to understand another individual’s experience of the world through their own respective vantage points, affecting the signals and symbols used for expression (Todd & Galinsky, 2014). To avoid any discrepancies, it is recommended that communicators must consider each other’s perspectives with formulating messages to establish communication intents (Bratu, 2014b).

Police officer communication: Police officer communication refers to messages that police officers give out and the communication intent attached to those messages. As a skill to master, police officers rely on the act of perspective-taking to establish a communication intent that would be well received by the publics they engage with (Van, Meijer, & Homburg, 2015).

Self-talk: Self-talk is a multidimensional phenomenon focusing on self-verbalization that can be useful for motivational and instructional functions (Hardy, Hall, & Hardy, 2004). Self-talk has been determined to have two main functions. Those two main functions are instructional and motivational. Instructional self-talk assists in the execution of individual skills and strategies (Latinjak, Font-Lladó, Zourbanos, & Hatzigeorgiadis, 2016). The motivational function of self-talk is used to assist with mental toughness, focus, confidence, and mental preparation, all deemed necessary if an individual is to successfully complete and attain their personal goals (Latinjak et al., 2016).

Assumptions, Limitations, Delimitations Assumptions.

1. It was assumed that each participant who completed the distributed questionnaires answered truthfully and without any deception. It was explained to each participant that their answers are anonymous and that no information would cause a breach of privacy and can be used for identification purposes. In addition, it was explained to questionnaire participants that questionnaire data would only be accessed by the researcher, ensuring further means of protecting the information collected. With these explanations, it was assumed a greater sense of trust and comfort was established with questionnaire participants, eliminating any possible deception from occurring (Emerson, 2015).
2. It was assumed that each participant had a complete understanding of the terminology used in the distributed questionnaires. Prior to the distribution of questionnaires, participants were provided and explained the definitions of the main terms found throughout the questionnaires (e.g. self-talk and communication apprehension). With these terms explained, there was an assumption that the participants (i.e. WCPD) understood how to interpret each question they answered (Park & Park, 2016).

Limitations.

1. Because this study was not addressing a cause-and-effect relationship, but correlational, the findings were not interpreted that one variable caused another variable to react. A cause-and-effect relationship was not being explored because there was no control of outside variables that influenced both self-talk and communication apprehension. Outside variables that impacted performance of self-talk and communication apprehension included crowd size, length of communication, emotional state, unforeseen circumstances occurring in real-time, lack of sleep, discussion topics, room temperature, and even bodily functions such as hunger and thirst impacting communication (Brinthaupt et al, 2009; Shi et al, 2015). The findings of this study were interpreted based on what strength of relationship existed between self-talk and communication solely. However, the findings of this study can be leveraged to include additional variables to help control this specific limitation.
2. The sample size may be deemed too small. A sample size of 50 WCPD members, regardless of gender, was used for this study. The sample size of 50 was too small to conduct a parametric Pearson’s r correlation analysis, which required a sample size of 84 (Appendix E) per the results of the G*Power analysis (Laerd Statistics, 2017). Consequently, a Kendall’s tau-b (τb) correlation analysis was conducted, which is deemed acceptable when using smaller sample sizes (Laerd Statistics, 2017). Since this study was aiming to understand the association between self-talk and communication apprehension using a small sample size, the researcher used Kendall’s tau-b (τb) correlation analysis, which is appropriate for assessing relationships among variables that are measured on at least a continuous scale and follow a monotonic relationship using small sizes (Puth, Neuhauser, & Ruxton, 2015; Schaeffer & Levitt, 1956).
3. Hesitation by the western city police officers was expected, as not all western city police officers approached to answer the questionnaire were willing to answer it. To combat such hesitation, it was recommended to explain that privacy was ensured always in accordance to IRB standards, as it was not required to provide any identifying-related information, and that the data collected were solely used for the study conducted (Emerson, 2015). If any police officer refused to answer the questionnaires, they opted out at any time, with no questions asked.
4. This study was conducted with a convenience sample of volunteer participants. The sample may not be representative of all WCPD officers. The results cannot be generalized to the entire western population of police officers.

Delimitations.

1. The geographical location was a major western city. Due to the researcher not having any established relationships with other departments in geographical locations not in the west, sample collection was only available within a major western city. Due to the researcher having written approval from a western city police department and having received security clearances (see Appendix B), having access to the necessary population of interest that aligns with this research was not a problem. The findings do not depict how other police officers outside those from the WCPD would use self-talk to control communication apprehension. To further elaborate, the population of interest was only a small sample that worked within the major western city sampled and therefore was not used to generalize or depict all police officers within the United States.
2. All the western city police officers that made up the population of interest for this study had engaged in public communication and were familiar with communication strategies. This was guaranteed as only members from the community relations division were administered a questionnaire, as this team is specifically trained in communication strategies and tactics. This was further ensured by using the researcher’s pre-existing relationship and security clearances to attend a community relations meeting to administer the questionnaires for this study, which the researcher had received permission to do by the community relations’ leading officers.
3. Privacy was ensured for all western city police department police officers answering the questionnaires used for this study. The questionnaires did not ask, nor required the western city police officers to submit any identifying information that led to privacy concerns.
4. A correlational analysis was appropriate for this study because this study was focusing on bivariate data – the relationship between two variables and observing its relationship: the first observed variables consisted of self-talk and communication apprehension and the second two observed variables consisted of self-talk and the public speaking component of communication apprehension. This study was not considering other variables beyond self-talk and communication apprehension, with the sole intent of understanding what was the strength of the relationship between self-talk and communication apprehension. Thus, a correlational analysis was ideal as it was used to understand the strength of the relationship between two variables (Revelle & Oehlberg, 2008).

Summary and Organization of the Remainder of the Study

The relationship between self-talk and communication apprehension needed further elaboration, which was the gap this study was addressing with its research questions and hypotheses. Research has established self-talk as a cognitive strategy used to elevate confidence, improve mental focus, and assist in the execution of skills (Arnold et al., 2016). Furthermore, communication apprehension has been found to exist because of the lack of confidence and proper mental preparation regarding all models of communication (Shi et al., 2015). It can be hypothesized on a surface level that considering self-talk is used to elevate confidence and communication apprehension exists due to lack of confidence, that a significant correlation would occur (e.g. as self-talk increases, communication apprehension decreases; self-talk decreases, communication increases). However, such a hypothesis needed to be tested by connecting the phenomena of both self-talk and communication apprehension.

In connecting both phenomena, a correlational analysis would assist in determining the strength, direction, and significance of the relationship between both variables. Because the study was not aiming to prove a cause-and-effect relationship, a correlational analysis was the chosen quantitative methodology for it would assist in identifying interactions at the observed level and to what extent to these interactions moved in tandem (Revelle & Oehlberg, 2008). Additional research has also found a correlational analysis useful in monitoring communication patterns associated with social patterns, specifically in individuals who may find themselves in high-stress situations (Ho et al., 2015).

Police officers may find themselves in high-stress situations daily. Arguably, one of the daily goals for any police officer is to ensure effective communication is occurring. The need for effective communication influences their rapport with their public, how a communication intent is devised, their confidence in social interactions, as well in providing testimonies (Duff, 2010). Because of what their daily duties entail, police officers act as the ideal population of interest for this study to highlight the use of self-talk and its correlational impact on communication apprehension to answer the research questions and test the hypotheses that would guide this study.

The findings of this study would not only aide in addressing the gap found in research, but would establish the need in connecting these two potential overlapping phenomena with other similar theories. The research can be used as a reference and starting point for future studies that may wish to include other factors such as perspective-taking, motivation theory, terministic screens, or self-efficacy. An interpretation and discussion of the findings for this research are discussed in chapter five. Prior to chapter five, chapter two presents a review of the literature surrounding self-talk and communication apprehension, while chapter three describes the methodology, research design, and procedures used for this study. Lastly, chapter four provides an overview of how the data were analyzed.

Chapter 2: Literature Review Introduction to the Chapter and Background to the Problem

To better understand the relationship between self-talk and communication apprehension among the population of interest of police officers, chapter two would focus on the literature review. This literature review was broken down into two main sections, theoretical foundations and literature review, followed by a brief chapter summary and what is to be expected in chapter three. The section focusing on the theoretical foundation was further broken down by highlighting self-talk, communication apprehension, police officer communication, and a brief breakdown of the communication accommodation theory and how it relates to self-talk and communication apprehension. The literature review was further broken down into subsections highlighting key research relating to self-talk, communication apprehension, and police officer communication. To elaborate, the main purpose of the literature review conducted surrounding self-talk and communication apprehension, as well as police officers, was to highlight pre-existing research that would frame the research questions and hypotheses looking to be answered and tested. Pre-existing research includes an established understanding of the concepts and phenomena of self-talk and communication, highlighting the importance of efficient communication surrounding police officers, as well as methodologies and data analysis tools associated with pre-existing research.

As stated, chapter two was divided into two main sections: the theoretical foundation and the literature review. The theoretical foundation consisted of explaining what the phenomena self-talk and communication apprehension claim to do, while discussing how the communication accommodation theory can be used to explain the relationship between self-talk and communication apprehension. Self-talk was described as inner verbalizations used to boost confidence and decrease anxiety, while communication apprehension was believed to exist when individuals experience a sense of fear and anxiety relating to anticipated communication (Shi et al., 2015). As two separate variables that potentially have a strong relationship, understanding the concepts and phenomena behind each variable was crucial to hypothesize if a significant correlation exists between self-talk and communication apprehension. To better understand the relationship between self-talk and communication apprehension, the communication accommodation theory was discussed based on the belief that individuals adjust their communication to decrease social differences, create a positive image, and establish successful communication (Ayoko, Hartel, & Callan, 2002; Hordila -Vatamanescu & Pana, 2010). In addition, the literature review examined prior research studies that have led to the need to understand what influence exists between self-talk and communication apprehension. During this section, the communication of police officers was also evaluated, detailing the importance of effective communication to avoid any discrepancies that may negatively affect their daily responsibilities.

To complete the literature review in chapter two, academically peer-reviewed articles were scoured using Grand Canyon University’s electronic library and extracted using RefWorks. Boolean logic was implemented to identify all peer-reviewed articles relating to self-talk, communication apprehension, and the communication of police officers. To further analyze if the peer-reviewed articles aligned with this research, the abstract of each peer-reviewed article was read to determine if the specific research conducted within each peer-reviewed article aligned with this research. If the article contained valuable information that would benefit this research, it was exported and stored within RefWorks. The goal of using Grand Canyon University’s electronic library and RefWorks was to identify and organize all peer-reviewed articles relating to this research, with most them dating back to the past five years, with a few extending beyond that.

Identification of the Gap

Once the appropriate peer-reviewed articles were identified and each analyzed for its respective content, the research gap became apparent to assess what relationship existed between self-talk and communication apprehension. For instance, self-talk has been defined as a cognitive strategy used to improve performance, while communication apprehension has been shown to negatively impact task performance due to lack of confidence and mental prepping (Latinjak et al., 2016; Shi et al., 2015). Prior studies using tennis players and swimmers have discovered that self-talk has been effective as a means to improve performance, however, the element of measuring communication is absent (Hatzigeorgiadis et al., 2008; Hatzigeorgiadis et al., 2007). The missing element of communication should be noted as it is a factor that influences performance and correlating behavior associated within group settings, as noted by individuals who may withdraw from group settings out of fear of public communication rooted in lack of confidence and an increased presence of anxiety (Helgadottir et al., 2014). As research has evolved surrounding self-talk and communication, a relationship between both variables has been alluded to as mental prepping has been found to be beneficial in dealing with communication challenges (Latinjak et al., 2016; Shi et al., 2015). Furthermore, there was research surrounding how strong and efficient communication skills can help police officers perform their daily responsibilities at a smoother rate (Uspanov, Turabayeva, & Ermolovich, 2016). Such research surrounding the communication of police officers has delved into the possibility that police officers encounter communication challenges due to them not fully addressing their own mental apprehension (Van et al., 2015)

Because of the present research surrounding self-talk and communication apprehension, understanding more in detail what relationship exists between both variables was a gap that needed further addressing. By addressing the gap, this study can add to the existing literature surrounding self-talk and communication apprehension by using a correlational analysis to better understand to what extent exists a relationship between self-talk and communication. For example, with self-talk acting as a variable that may impact performance and execution of skills, the included element of communication provided additional context if communication challenges (i.e. communication apprehension) experience a decrease in presence alongside performance outcomes and skill execution. Communication has been directly connected as a tool to leverage when dealing with interpersonal problem solving, in which individuals must engage in inner social assessments to guide their behavior (Erozkan, 2013). The inner assessments conducted can occur via the use of motivational self-talk to guide the communication that is to occur, to overcome any apprehension that may be present, and to ensure the proper intended outcome occurs (Hatzigeorgiadis et al., 2008).

In summary, while it can be hypothesized that self-talk can decrease communication apprehension, research addressing the parallels of both concepts and phenomena needed to be conducted. As a population of interest in which research surrounding their communication provides the ideal background to address the research gap between self-talk and communication apprehension, analyzing the communication of police officers assisted in narrowing the gap between self-talk and communication apprehension. The findings of this research would not only help further connect existing literature surrounding self-talk and communication apprehension, but can be used by police officers to shape their communication tactics by considering the benefits of self-talk.

Theoretical Foundations

Self-talk. Past research has indicated that communication apprehension centers on anxiety that needs to be controlled, with self-talk not necessarily explicitly labeled as a solution to communication apprehension (Boll, Bartholomaeus, Peter, Lupke, & Gamer, 2016). The concept of self-talk states that self-statements representing individual beliefs may influence performance behavior, increase confidence, maintain mental focus, control arousal levels, and influence communication (Arnold et al., 2016; Hatzigeorgiadis et al., 2008; Shi et al., 2015). It is believed that self-talk works by decreasing interfering thoughts, therefore improving performance in relation to the enhancement of concentration (Hatzigeorgiadis et al., 2008). If self-talk is practiced on a consistent basis and users become familiar with the benefits of self-talk, self-talk users would be more willing to use it, therefore it acts as an effective performance strategy (Hatzigeorgiadis et al., 2008). By using motivational self-talk to decrease all forms anxiety, it is believed that the use of self-talk would help improve confidence by increasing the self-efficacy of an individual (Hardy et al., 2015; Hatzigeorgiadis et al., 2008).

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Details

Title
Using the Communication of Police Officers to Assess the Relationship Between Self-Talk and Communication Apprehension
Grade
n/a
Author
Year
2020
Pages
199
Catalog Number
V902840
ISBN (eBook)
9783346205308
ISBN (Book)
9783346205315
Language
English
Notes
The purpose of this research study was to assess the relationship between self-talk and communication apprehension among police officers within a western city police department (WCPD).
Tags
psychology, police officers, law enforcement, self-talk, communication, cops, public speaking, social psychology, communication apprehension
Quote paper
Fabian Carrillo (Author), 2020, Using the Communication of Police Officers to Assess the Relationship Between Self-Talk and Communication Apprehension, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/902840

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