Self-Administration of Alcohol Before and After a Public Speaking Challenge by Individuals With Social Phobia


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Abstract

K. Abrams, M. Kushner, K. Medina, and A. Voight (2001) showed that alcohol attenuates social anxiety symptoms in socially phobic individuals. This article examines whether social anxiety symptoms can lead to increased alcohol use in this same population. Forty-four individuals with social phobia attended 2 laboratory sessions, spaced 1 week apart, in groups of approximately 10. Participants underwent a social anxiety challenge during 1 session and a control task during the other. Half of the sample self-administered alcohol immediately before, and half immediately after, these 2 activities. As predicted, participants consumed more alcohol following the anxiety challenge than following the control task; however, the opposite pattern was evidenced for drinking following the 2 activities. These findings add to an understanding of why social phobia and alcohol problems tend to co-occur.

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