Title

Everyone Else is Doing It: Examining the Role of Peer Influence On the Relationship Between Social Anxiety and Alcohol Use Behaviours

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

4-1-2016

Department

Psychology

Abstract

Social anxiety has been linked with harmful alcohol use, alcohol-related negative consequences, and less use of protective behavioural strategies among college students. The inability to resist peer influence has also been shown to be predictive of college student drinking behaviour. The current study examined the moderating role of resistance to peer influence in the relationship between social anxiety, alcohol-related negative consequences and protective behavioural strategies. Participants were 562 undergraduates who completed measures of social anxiety, resistance to peer influence, harmful drinking patterns, alcohol-related negative consequences and protective behavioural strategy use. As predicted, students with higher levels of social anxiety who also expressed being more susceptible to peer influence reported more harmful drinking and alcohol-related negative consequences, and fewer protective behavioural strategies. Thus, students with more social anxiety who may have been drinking in order to be accepted by their peers were more likely than others to engage in more problematic and less safe drinking behaviours. Interventions that focus on harm reduction with college students who drink and experience social anxiety would benefit from addressing their need to be accepted by peers and how that relates to their use of protective behavioural strategies.

Publication Title

Addiction Research & Theory

Volume

24

Issue

2

First Page

124

Last Page

134

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