Affect labeling refers to naming one’s emotional experiences, which has empirical evidence for reducing
negative emotion such as anxiety. This study developed an experimental treatment of affect labeling and
examined its effects on speech anxiety among socially anxious undergraduates. Out of 773 undergraduates
34 socially anxious individuals were selected, and they were randomly assigned either to the affect labeling
treatment group or the control group with no treatment. Following treatment, all participants were asked
to perform an impromptu speech task while their anxiety level was measured by heart rate (BPM) and
self-report. Results showed that affect labeling group had significantly lower anxiety during the
anticipation, speech, and recovery period, as compared to the control group. These results suggest that
affect labeling is potentially effective to reduce speech anxiety for those with high level of social anxiety.
Implications and limitations of these results and what are warranted for future research are discussed.
Key words : affect labeling, social anxiety, speech anxiety, emotion regulation, heart rate