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Research has shown that social anxiety is associated with increased rates of cannabis and alcohol use, but the mechanisms underlying the relationship between social anxiety and substance use are still largely unknown. One individual difference that might play a role in this relationship is the experience of loneliness. Loneliness has been associated with both social anxiety and negative health behaviors (including substance use). More specifically, loneliness has been linked to increased rates of illicit substance use and decreased rates of alcohol use. Despite the links between these conditions, no research has specifically focused on the effect of loneliness on the relationship between social anxiety and substance use. The current study sought to investigate the role of loneliness in the relationship between social anxiety and substance use behaviors and to expand the current understanding of this relationship. Consistent with previous research we found loneliness was associated with an increase in social anxiety symptoms. However the relationship between loneliness and substance use varied across studies, as did the relationship between social anxiety and substance use.
Loneliness, Social Anxiety, Alcohol Use, Marijuana Use
Date of Defense
September 3, 2009.
A Thesis Submitted to the Department of Psychology in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science.
Includes bibliographical references.
Florida State University
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