Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Communication and Information



First Advisor

Dr. Brandi Frisby


This study examined the experiences of shy, introverted, and apprehensive students in the college classroom. This study was framed by multiple goals theory to discover how these students use nonverbal communication to achieve their task, identity, and relational goals in the classroom. Shy, introverted, and apprehensive students face challenges in the classroom especially when asked to verbally participate or give presentations that their more outgoing classmates may not face. Participants (N = 16) participated in focus groups where they discussed their experiences, perceptions, and feelings about participation in their college courses. Results showed that these students do experience apprehension in communication situations, often avoiding participation when possible, and that they do use nonverbal communication to meet their task, identity, and relational goals in the classroom. Implications for theory and for both students and instructors, limitations, and future directions for research are discussed.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)