Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department

Child and Family Studies

Major Professor

Raymond Miltenberger, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kimberly Crosland, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sarah Bloom, Ph.D.


habit reversal, behavior, competing response, speech


Research on components of habit reversal suggests that awareness training alone may be an effective and efficient intervention for reducing nervous habits. This study evaluated the effectiveness of awareness training for the reduction of three nervous habits that manifest in public speaking: filled pauses, tongue clicks, and inappropriate use of the word "like." Four university students delivered short speeches during baseline and assessment sessions. Awareness training consisted of response description and response detection. Awareness training resulted in meaningful reductions in target behaviors for all participants. Booster awareness training sessions were necessary for all participants to achieve further reductions in target behaviors. Generalization probes conducted in front of a small audience indicated that treatment effects generally maintained at low levels. Social validity scores indicated that the treatment was acceptable, and participants indicated not only decreased use of verbal fillers, but also improved overall public speaking ability post-treatment. Although awareness training was effective, it was not more efficient than simplified habit reversal.