Date of Graduation

8-2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Psychological Science

Advisor

Lindsay S. Ham

Committee Member

Matthew Feldner

Second Committee Member

Ellen Leen-Feldner

Abstract

The comorbidity of social anxiety disorder and alcohol use disorders is well-documented in the research literature. However, conflicting findings have been noted in cross-sectional investigations of this link; some studies indicate that individuals with social anxiety disorder are more likely to engage in problematic alcohol use, while others suggest that social anxiety may serve as a protective factor against heavy drinking. Alcohol outcome expectancies (AOEs), the beliefs one holds about the effects of alcohol consumption, have been identified as an important variable in the consideration of the social anxiety-alcohol use link. The current study tested the effect of an expectancy generation task for social, positive, and negative AOEs and social anxiety level on alcohol desirability among 299 college students (mean age 19.30 [SD =1.40]; 58.9% women) who completed an online study. No significant differences in alcohol desirability were noted between the AOE conditions or high and low social anxiety groups. However, sex, baseline desire for alcohol, quantity and frequency of alcohol use, and participants' endorsement of AOEs were associated with alcohol desirability, consistent with the research literature. While the expectancy generation task failed to affect participant reports of alcohol desirability, the results of the current study support the use of the alcohol desirability measures in assessing level of desire to consume alcohol.

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