Date of this Version
Depression and Anxiety 18:3 (November 2003), pp. 128–139.
Previous research has found a relation between social anxiety disorder and alcoholism, but recent work found no differences in drinking levels among socially anxious individuals, dysthymics, and normal controls. Using a more sophisticated measure of substance abuse may further explicate the relation between social anxiety and drinking. We examined aspects of substance abuse in treatment-seeking individuals with social anxiety disorder or panic disorder (psychiatric control group) as well as nondisordered individuals (normal control group). We used the Substance Abuse Subtle Screening Inventory–3 because it includes both face valid and subtle items to control for social desirability. Contrary to the hypotheses, there were few obvious or subtle aspects of substance abuse significantly greater for individuals with social anxiety disorder than those with panic disorder or normal controls. Implications for understanding the social anxiety–alcohol relationship, assessment of substance abuse in socially anxious populations, and the construct of social anxiety are discussed.