Attentional Bias and Drinking to Cope With Social Anxiety

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This study investigated the sensitivity of the emotional Stroop test for identifying individuals who reported drinking to cope with social fears. Community volunteers completed a modified Stroop task during which social threat, alcohol-related, and control words were presented. High scores on drinking-to-cope measures were hypothesized to be associated with longer response latencies to both social threat and alcohol-related words. Consistent with previous studies, alcohol dependence was correlated with latencies for alcohol-related words, and level of social anxiety was correlated with response latency to social threat words. As expected, drinking-to-cope measures predicted response latency to alcohol-related and social threat words. These results suggest that the emotional Stroop test is useful in studying the relationship between social anxiety and alcohol consumption.

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