Incorporating Social Anxiety Into a Model of College Problem Drinking: Replication and Extension


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Abstract

Although research has found an association between social anxiety and alcohol use in noncollege samples, results have been mixed for college samples. College students face many novel social situations in which they may drink to reduce social anxiety. In the current study, the authors tested a model of college problem drinking, incorporating social anxiety and related psychosocial variables among 228 undergraduate volunteers. According to structural equation modeling (SEM) results, social anxiety was unrelated to alcohol use and was negatively related to drinking consequences. Perceived drinking norms mediated the social anxiety-alcohol use relation and was the variable most strongly associated with problem drinking. College students appear to be unique with respect to drinking and social anxiety. Although the notion of social anxiety alone as a risk factor for problem drinking was unsupported, additional research is necessary to determine whether there is a subset of socially anxious students who have high drinking norms and are in need of intervention.

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