Social anxiety and marijuana-related problems: the role of social avoidance

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BACKGROUND: People with elevated social anxiety seem vulnerable to marijuana-related impairment. Yet little work has examined core facets of social anxiety that may be especially related to marijuana-related problems. METHOD: The present study examined the relationships between current (past three months) marijuana-related problems and two aspects of social anxiety (fear in social situations and social avoidance) among current (N=102) marijuana users. RESULTS: Although both social fear and social avoidance were significantly correlated with marijuana-related problems, only social avoidance was uniquely related to marijuana problems (after controlling for social fear, sex, negative affect, alcohol problems, and marijuana use frequency). Sex moderated the relationship between social avoidance and marijuana-related problems such that men with greater social avoidance exhibited the greatest severity of marijuana-related problems. CONCLUSIONS: Avoidance of social situations appears robustly related to marijuana-related problems. This finding has important implications for theoretical models that can inform treatment of co-occurring social anxiety and marijuana problems.

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Addictive behaviors

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