Polysubstance use, social anxiety, and length of treatment for alcohol use disorders

Andrew Oakland, Dennis McChargue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The purpose of the present study was to examine the interactive effects of social anxiety and psychosocial factors (i.e., group attendance, polysubstance use) on substance use treatment for men with a primary diagnosis of alcohol use disorder. Social anxiety and alcohol use disorders often co-occur, but it is currently unclear how having high social anxiety might affect aspects of substance use treatment, such as group participation and length of stay. Methods: This study compared men with alcohol use disorder only versus those with alcohol plus other drug disorders in a residential treatment facility. Measures included demographics, self-reported social anxiety, self-reported drug history, attendance at treatment groups, and total number of days in treatment. Results: Of 128 participants, 39 (30.5%) used only alcohol, while 89 (69.5%) used alcohol and other substances. Hierarchical linear regression showed only one significant interaction with social anxiety and length of treatment: people who used alcohol only or alcohol in addition to other substances (p < .05). Simple effects analyses revealed a positive relationship between social anxiety and length of stay among men who used only alcohol, but not among men who used more than one substance. Conclusions: Currently, the distinction between those who use only alcohol and those who use other substances as well is not often examined in the literature. However, the present study shows that this assumption of homogeneity may be inaccurate, given the differential relationships that these groups may have with factors such as social anxiety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-8
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Dual Diagnosis
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014


  • Alcohol
  • Exposure
  • Polysubstance
  • Social anxiety
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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