Alcohol as a Coping Mechanism for Social Anxiety
Received Date: October 29, 2019; Published Date: November 08, 2019
Alcohol abuse has become a significant issue on college campuses, particularly heavy episodic drinking commonly known as binge drinking. Various factors have been studied in relation to the causal and subsequent factors of alcohol abuse on college campuses, including motives, contexts, and psychological conditions related to college students’ use of alcohol. One common impetus for college students to use alcohol is to deal with anxiety. One group of students who are particularly susceptible to experience anxiety are those who suffer from social anxiety. However, research lacks focus on the potential impact of social anxiety as a motivator for drinking behaviors. There were several significant findings related to Social Anxiety scores. A major finding was that the strongest relationship found was that students suffering from social anxiety utilize alcohol in the context of coping with their negative emotions. This is a new and important detail in understanding the ways in which those suffering from social anxiety try to cope with their negative emotions and their vulnerability to substance abuse. Significant gender differences also were obtained that indicated female students were more likely to drink to cope with negative emotions. In addition, findings indicated female students living off-campus reported higher levels of social anxiety than females living on-campus, and vice versa for males students. However, analyses do not permit tying these gender differences to differences in use of alcohol. Finally, there were differences between the women and men depending upon their employment status (i.e., full-time, part-time, unemployed). Trends in the analyses provided for implications of clinicians and offer direction in the construction of future research about social anxiety and alcohol use by college students. It appears that for students experiencing social anxiety, the relationships among social anxiety, use of alcohol for coping and various life situations in which students are living all interact to impact their use of alcohol.
Keywords: Social Anxiety; Alcohol, Coping; Employment; Campus housing