Effects of alcohol on social anxiety in women: Cognitive versus physiological processes

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Abstract

Randomly assigned 32 female social drinkers (18–25 yr old undergraduates) to 4 conditions in a 2 × 2 factorial design that controlled for drink content and expectations. Ss were administered either an alcoholic or a nonalcoholic beverage and were led to believe that their drinks contained or did not contain alcohol. After finishing their drinks Ss participated in a study of social anxiety in which they were requested to interact with a male confederate of the experimenter. Multiple measures, including heart rate, skin conductance, and overt behavioral and self-report responses, were recorded. Ss who expected alcohol showed significant elevations in physiological arousal and were rated as more anxious on observational measures of social behavior. Self-report measures failed to yield any differences among groups. Implications for the tension reduction theory of alcohol use and the importance of multiple response measures are discussed. (1½ p ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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