Effects of Social Anxiety and Alcohol Expectancies on Stress-Induced Drinking

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The utility of trait social anxiety and alcohol expectancies in predicting increased alcohol consumption under socially stressful conditions was investigated. Forty-two male and 42 female undergraduates participated in a 2-day study, serving as their own controls. In each session, participants consumed their preferred alcoholic beverage during a 30-min drinking period. The 1st session established baseline consumption under nonstressful conditions, while in the 2nd session, participants drank while anticipating the required delivery of a speech. Measures of social anxiety and alcohol expectancies were completed. Participants consumed more absolute alcohol during the stressful session, but those with high trait social anxiety and men expecting alcohol to increase assertiveness were most likely to show this effect. These findings suggest specificity in the connection between individual characteristics and stress-induced drinking.

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