The relationship between social anxiety and drinking behaviour: A review of the literature

Annette Raber, Penelope A. Hasking

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review

Abstract

Social anxiety and alcohol consumption are both commonly occurring disorders with potentially incapacitating consequences for sufferers. Their relationship has generated significant research in the last few decades. A major objective of such research has been to explain the high co-morbidity rates that exist between social anxiety disorder and alcohol use disorders. Despite many studies establishing co-morbidity between social anxiety and alcohol consumption, inconsistencies have appeared in research examining this connection. For example, some research has demonstrated a positive relationship between social anxiety and drinking, whilst other research has revealed a negative relationship or none at all. These discrepancies have led to studies considering the role of potentially moderating and/or mediating alcohol-related variables in the relationship between social anxiety and alcohol use. This review reports on findings with respect to three such variables, namely alcohol expectancies, self-efficacy and drinking motives. It is hoped that a better understanding of the relationship between social anxiety and alcohol use will lead to improvements in the prevention and treatment of these disorders. Social anxiety disorder (SAD) and alcohol use disorders (AUD) commonly co-occur with potentially incapacitating consequences for those affected. Significant research has been generated in attempting to explain the high co-morbidity rates (Morris et al., 2005). Empirical studies exploring the relationship between SAD and AUD have generally fallen into four categories; genetics of the co-morbidity, neurobiology of the co-morbidity, effects of alcohol (due to its anxiolytic properties) on social anxiety, and the role of mediating and moderating cognitive variables on the relationship (Tran et al., 2008). This review reports on findings with respect to this last group of studies, and on three such variables, namely alcohol expectancies, self-efficacy and drinking motives.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial Anxiety
Subtitle of host publicationSymptoms, Causes, and Techniques
PublisherNova Science Publishers
Pages65-78
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9781617289101
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010

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