Smoking and social anxiety: the roles of gender and smoking motives

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Although social anxiety appears to be a risk factor for smoking and nicotine dependence, little work has identified factors that may play a role in these relationships. The current study examined the role of gender and smoking motives in these relationships among 945 (73.0% female) undergraduates, 91 of whom were current daily smokers. Among women, social anxiety was related to daily smoking status, whereas it was related to dependence severity among men. After controlling for past-week smoking frequency, social anxiety was related to affiliative attachment and behavioral choice-melioration smoking motives. Both motives mediated the relationship between social anxiety and nicotine dependence severity, although affiliative attachment motives uniquely mediated this relationship. Results suggest that socially anxious individuals who view cigarettes as having some of the same characteristics as social interactions may be particularly vulnerable to more severe nicotine dependence. Results also highlight the importance of considering gender in the relationships between social anxiety and smoking behaviors.

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Addictive behaviors

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