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J Anxiety Disord. 2010 Jan;24(1):49-54. doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2009.08.010.

Predictors of social anxiety in an opioid dependent sample and a control sample.

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  • 1National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.


Compared to other mental health problems, social anxiety is under-acknowledged amongst opioid dependent populations. This study aimed to assess levels of social anxiety and identify its predictors in an opioid dependent sample and a matched control group. Opioid dependent participants (n=1385) and controls (n=417) completed the Social Interaction Anxiety Scale (SIAS), the Social Phobia Scale (SPS) and a diagnostic interview. Regression analyses were used to test a range of predictors of social anxiety. Opioid dependent cases had higher mean scores on both scales compared to controls. Predictors of social anxiety centred on emotional rejection in childhood, either by parents or peers. For opioid dependent cases, but not controls, lifetime non-opioid substance dependence (cannabis, sedatives, and tobacco) was associated with higher levels of social anxiety. However, much of the variance in social anxiety remains unexplained for this population.

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