The role of drinking motives in social anxiety and alcohol use

Lindsay S. Ham, Michel Bonin, Debra A. Hope

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


Although social anxiety and problem drinking commonly co-occur, the relationship between social anxiety and drinking among college students is not well understood. The current study examined the relationship between drinking motives, or reasons for drinking, and social anxiety in 239 volunteers. Contrary to hypotheses, high (n = 83), moderate (n = 90), and low (n = 66) social anxiety groups did not differ in endorsement of coping and conformity drinking motives. Further, social anxiety was negatively related to weekly alcohol use and unrelated to alcohol-related problems. Post hoc hierarchical multiple regression analyses conducted for each social anxiety group indicated that coping motives were related to greater alcohol use and problems for those in the high and moderate social anxiety groups, but not for the low social anxiety group. It appears that drinking motives, particularly coping motives, have promise in providing a greater understanding of the social anxiety-drinking relationship. Drinking motives could aid in identification of socially anxious students at risk for alcohol problems and inform intervention strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)991-1003
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Anxiety Disorders
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2007


  • Alcohol
  • College students
  • Coping
  • Drinking motives
  • Social anxiety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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