Graduate Program

Communication Studies

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion

Spring 2023

Thesis Director

Elizabeth Gill

Thesis Committee Member

Richard G. Jones, Jr.

Thesis Committee Member

Emma Noble


The purpose of this study was to create a toolkit for social support and social anxiety using the Communal Coping method. There was background research conducted on social anxiety and social support, COVID impact, Communal Coping, and resilience and skill building. Before constructing the toolkit, a survey was conducted with 29 Eastern Illinois University students to measure their assessment of their social anxiety and social support. The results of this survey found that students have a need for social support and are affected by their anxiety. Once the toolkit: the workbook and the facilitator’s manual, were completed, a pilot class was conducted. Students were recruited to be a part of the pilot from the promotion of EIU’s Health Education Resource Center. There were seven participants. Results of the pilot class found that the S*A*S*S* toolkit generally decreases the amount of social anxiety that participants experience and increases their social support systems. The feedback received during the sessions and on the evaluations positively showed that discussing topics and performing research-backed activities around social anxiety and social support were beneficial to the students' goals. Using the concept of Communal Coping was shown to add to the benefits of the toolkit as well.