Gender Matters: The Relationship between Social Anxiety and Alcohol-Related Consequences

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Schry, Amie R. ; Norberg, Melissa M. ; Maddox, Brenna B. ; White, Susan W. (2014)
  • Publisher: Public Library of Science
  • Journal: PLoS ONE, volume 9, issue 12 (issn: 1932-6203, eissn: 1932-6203)
  • Related identifiers: pmc: PMC4277359, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0115361
  • Subject: Clinical Psychology | Research Article | Biology and Life Sciences | Emotions | Addiction | Medicine | Q | Anxiety | R | Psychology | Alcoholism | Social Sciences | Science

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Identification of risk factors for alcohol-related consequences is an important public health concern. Both gender and social anxiety have been associated with alcohol-related consequences broadly, but it is unknown whether these variables are differentially related to specific types of alcohol-related consequences for American college students. METHODS: In the present study, 573 undergraduate students (M(age) = 19.86 years, SD = 1.40; range 18 to 25; 68.9% female) completed an on-line assessment of social anxiety, alcohol use, and four types of alcohol-related consequences (personal, social, physical, and role). Poisson regressions were run to examine social anxiety, gender, and the interaction between social anxiety and gender as predictors of each type of alcohol-related consequences. RESULTS: After controlling for alcohol use, social anxiety was positively associated with all four types of consequences, and females endorsed higher rates of physical, personal, and role consequences. The interaction between social anxiety and gender was statistically significant only for physical consequences, with social anxiety having a stronger effect for males. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: These findings, which diverge somewhat from those of a prior study with Australian college students, are discussed in the context of a biopsychosocial model of social anxiety and substance use problems. SCIENTIFIC SIGNIFICANCE: This study highlights the importance of further investigating cultural differences in the relationships among social anxiety, gender, and alcohol-related consequences.
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