Chapter 3: Literacies across the disciplines

3.9.2 How communication can be used as prevention and treatment for anxiety disorders (prospectus)

Kade Mindry

English 102, March 2021


For my final research essay, I will be continuing from my topic of essay 2. My topic for essay 2 was “How communication can be used as prevention and treatment for anxiety disorders”. In my essay I will be analyzing articles that support my thesis statement of “Is communication, either via therapy or an inner circle, thought to reduce anxiety symptoms?” Anxiety is one of the most diagnosed disorders in the world. Whether it be social anxiety, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, or one of the many other types. I have experienced severe anxiety at a younger age and have managed to overcome it through communication therapy. However, there are many people who choose alternative methods of therapy like medication. There is no correct nor incorrect way to approach the therapy process of someone dealing with a form of anxiety, but over the past few years, there has been significant research favouring the different forms of communication therapy and how it helps those with anxiety overcome the disorder. Regardless of what type of anxiety, the various types of anxiety disorders have been prevalent in society for years, however recently, the numbers of people dealing with anxiety have likely skyrocketed. Although the exact cause for this is unable to be determined, many professionals believe that it is due to a lack of communication. Communication is a very broad term and includes things like texting, speaking, and writing, as well as things like painting and drawing. Professionals believe that communication can be used not only as a preventative measure, but also as a method to overcome and prevent anxiety.

How I plan to layout my final research paper

I have decided that my introduction for this paper will be finalized at the end, like the video from a few weeks ago, until I have finalized my paragraphs, and what I want to say. With this being said, I will have a brief introduction containing my thesis statement in order for me to continuously link my paragraphs back to the thesis statement, and as I finalize my argument I will add to my introduction. This is to ensure I am linking what I am saying to the thesis statement, and then at the end I will add more information to my introduction and finalize it. My first paragraph will consist of my personal experience with anxiety and how I overcame my anxiety with communication-based therapy. I will try and alternate between genral to specific, and specific to general to allow for a less rigid structure and to keep my audience interested. Throughout the course of the essay, I will link my research questions to the articles I am using and answer them using evidence, followed by my opinion on the question and the article. After I have written my first paragraph containing my personal experience, I plan to analyse my articles one by one in-depth and explain the evidence that has been found and the various professionals’ arguments and point of view. Throughout the course of my paper, I will answer questions like “Do college students identify as suffering from anxiety?” and “What steps have college students taken to address their anxiety?” by analysing articles like “Students’ experiences of anxiety in an assessed, online, Computers and Education“. I will be looking at the various articles and providing the necessary information to provide a knowledgeable insight into the professionals’ articles and research that I have found, including statistics and rates, as well as various arguments by psychologists. I will also answer questions like “How do therapists communicate to their patients about anxiety?” and “How can communication be used to treat anxiety?” by looking at the various methods and types of communication that professionals use to help people with different anxiety disorders, for instance, what was found in Jesse H. Wright’s “Computer-Assisted Cognitive-Behavior Therapy and Mobile Apps for Depression and Anxiety”.

Main points

My main points will be centred around how communication can be used to help combat people suffering from different types of anxiety, as well as looking at how communication helps deal with and prevent anxiety by analysing different techniques and methods of communication. Having suffered from anxiety, this is a topic that is very personal, and one that I find extremely interesting. My girlfriend also struggles with anxiety and is currently experimenting with different forms of communication to combat it, and so I have able to view the different techniques and different types of coping mechanisms up close, and I will comment on what I have seen, as well as get her point of view to use as ‘first-hand experience’ to use as evidence. In my second essay I concluded that communication is a vital part of not only dealing with anxiety, but also avoiding anxiety of many different forms. It allows one to express their thoughts and is also very dependent on the social circle and the level of trust the person has in the people they are communicating with (their inner circle).  I will be elaborating on this and conduct research to answer questions like “What causes anxiety?” and “How do anxiety disorders affect our everyday life?” in order to better understand anxiety as a whole and link it to my main point, how communication can be used to help combat people suffering from different types of anxiety and to give readers some context, and for a better understanding of the topic. In my previous essay, I used an article where the prime purpose of the study was to try and establish whether there was a relationship between different communication styles, and social anxiety. This article specifically spoke about social anxiety and whether there were differences between genders when it came to the different communication styles, and what may be causing these differences, be it a perceived LACK of social support and hence the lack of people to communicate with, or something else. I will be using this article again; however, I will look more closely into the actual results of the study to try and expand on my main point and answer questions like ““Are there specific types of communication that work best for combatting anxiety, if so, which types?”

Academic fields that may be interested

I believe that fields that are involved directly with communication as a treatment for anxiety, as well as communication as a preventative measure for anxiety, would be psychology and education, as well as non-psychology fields like social work, human resources, and clinical mental health counselling. Psychology and mental health counselling would both be interested in this topic as communication to treat anxiety is directly related to therapy and the treatment of anxiety. Psychology is related to the study of the mind and so this topic would be of interest because the communication required would consist of how people are thinking and the way they are dealing with certain things.  The educational field would take interest in a topic like this because many of the causes for anxiety are related to school and studies in some way. The educational system would look at how they can, and if they can, address certain common factors and what they can do to reduce anxiety. They could also educate people on the importance of communication as well as the different factors that may cause anxiety, as well as educate people on the different types of communication. By doing this, the education system will become more productive, and the youth would become less anxious.

Annotated Bibliography

Michael D. Barnett, et al (2020) Social Anxiety and Perceived Social Support: Gender Differences and the Mediating Role of Communication Styles, 2020, pp. 1-18

Barnett underwent the study in order to try and establish whether there was a relationship between different communication styles, and social anxiety. This article specifically spoke about social anxiety and whether or not there were differences between genders when it came to the different communication styles, and what may be causing these differences, be it a perceived LACK of social support and hence the lack of people to communicate with etc.

Jonathan Haverkampf (2017) Communication-Focused Therapy (CFT) for Social Anxiety and Shyness, 2017, pp. 108-113

This article looks at why communication is important, why people with social anxiety struggle to communicate, and what is so dangerous about a lack of communication. Haverkampf believes that communication is the roots of how people pursue what is valuable to them and fulfill their aspirations, communicating is an essential part of leading a happy life. However, people with social anxiety who struggle to communicate, essentially have their lives interfered with as they are unable to develop helpful communication patterns, and this interferes with “life itself”


This article breaks down what anxiety is, as well as looking into the different communication patterns, possible side effects, the process to understanding and approaching anxiety, and what communication focused therapy is and why it is important. The conclusion was that based on many years of research and looking at different papers that have been written, and it was found that communication is the main most important part of change. It was established that when there is a meaningful exchange of words, thoughts or messages, and a mutual flow of information in a ‘safe environment’, it brings a positive change in both people who take part.

Joshua A. B. Littler. “ANXIETY AND COMPUTER-MEDIATED COMMUNICATION” School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, 2019, pp 1-14

This article looks at a study that was conducted that examined the effect of anonymous, computer-based forms of communication focusing specifically on anxiety, and whether or not the different type of interaction (computer-based) affected the individuals anxiety levels before and after completing an anxiety-inducing task. The results that were obtained was that depending on the state of the anxiety, computer-based communication may work. However, in the bigger picture with the larger groups of subjects, it showed that the type of communication may vary, and that depending on what type and individual needs, it can be beneficial in relieving stress.

Chen, Yixin. “How Does Communication Anxiety Influence Well-Being?” International Journal of Communication, 2019, pp. 4795-4807

This article was about a proposed conceptual model that looked at how communication anxiety (ultimately the struggle of an individual to communicate) leads to a need for online social interactions INSTEAD of other forms of communication which in turn results in loneliness and a negative influence on general well-being. A study was conducted with college students and the findings revealed that communication anxiety increased the need for people to interact online and loneliness, and subsequently decreased general well-being.

Wright, Jesse H. et al “Computer-Assisted Cognitive-Behavior Therapy and Mobile Apps for Depression and Anxiety” Current Psychiatry Reports, 2019, pp 1-9

Wright and the other authors conducted a study to try and determine the effectiveness of a different type of communication, computer-assisted therapy and mobile apps for depression and anxiety. The findings showed that these apps and computer-based methods of communication and therapy were extremely effective when the programs and apps were supported by professionals, thus highlighting the importance of proper/professional communication as many individuals struggle with how to communicate effectively.


In this article, Irfat and other authors examined the rise in mental disorders over the past few decades, and specifically, people suffering from common mental disorders like anxiety and depression. The authors go on to break down the causes of anxiety and how it works  as well as what the different types of treatment are. All or most forms are treatment involve communication in some way or another. They include psychotherapy, pharmacotherapy, or a combination of both, which is further broken down in the article.

Johnston, Jo. “Stress and anxiety” Veterinary Nursing Journal, Vol. 35, 2020, pp. 217-221

Johnston has over 20 years’ experience in the human resources departments of various companies and small businesses. Together with a colleague, they analyzed what the different causes for stress and anxiety were, and the effects they have in our everyday lives.

Hilliard, Jake; Kear, Karen; Donelan, Helen and Heaney, Caroline (2020). Students’ experiences of anxiety in an assessed, online, Computers and Education, 143, article no. 103675.

This article examined different students’ experiences of anxiety in an online, collaborative project. Research has shown that collaborative projects have become increasingly popular for various reasons. However, recent studies have shown, based on past research, that working online with other students has the potential to cause anxiety for learners, particularly when the work being done is being assessed. A study for this article was conducted that used online surveys and interviews with part-time distance learners. The results showed that anxiety was commonly experienced due to relying on ‘unknown others’, and worries about non-active group members etc.

Duffy, Mary E. “Trends in Mood and Anxiety Symptoms and Suicide-Related Outcomes Among US” Elsevier, 2018, pp. 1-17

This article examined whether the increased utilization of mental health services on college campuses, and rising rates of mood and suicide in young adults were reflective of nationwide trends in college student’s mental health over the past decade. The study examined the trends in anxiety and mood disorders among students from 2007 to 2018. The results showed that over the last decade, things like anger, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and many more have worsened among US college students.

Lidner, Philip et al. “Therapist-led and self-led one-session virtual reality exposure therapy for public speaking anxiety with consumer hardware and software: A randomized controlled trial” Journal of Anxiety Disorders, Vol 51, 2018, pp. 11-22

This article contains a study that was conducted to examine different methods of dealing with public speaking anxiety specifically. This is a type of anxiety that is extremely difficult to try an ‘cure’ due to difficulties exposing the individual to crowds. However, virtual reality technology may be able to allow individuals to ‘experience’ what causes their anxiety during therapy which may reduce the length of time it takes to recover from it.

Chorpita BF, Barlow DH. “The development of anxiety: the role of control in the early environment” Psychol Bull. 1998, Vol 124 pp. 3-21.

This article analyzes anxiety, depression and helplessness through looking at different findings to come up with a model of the various environmental influences and the development of anxiety. The findings were that early experience in an environment with little control may promote psychological vulnerability for anxiety. The authors used a number of different sources and took into account the views of many other professionals.

Young, Dolly. “An Investigation of Students’ Perspectives on Anxiety and Speaking” University of Tennessee, 1990, pp. 540-551

This article conducted a study to examine anxiety and speaking, but from the perspective of students. Young analyzed the findings to answer questions like “Do speaking activities indeed make students nervous? If so, what is it about speaking that makes students anxious? Which speaking activities make students particularly uncomfortable? Can instructors do anything to reduce anxiety, particularly speaking anxiety, in the classroom?” The study was conducted by means of a questionnaire that was designed to identify the different sources of anxiety.

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