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J Youth Adolesc. 2010 Feb;39(2):177-88. doi: 10.1007/s10964-008-9385-5. Epub 2009 Jan 13.

The relationship between anxiety disorders and substance use among adolescents in the community: specificity and gender differences.

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Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.


Using a sample of 781 adolescents (ages 13-17, 52.8% male) from a community survey, this study examined gender differences in the co-occurrence of specific anxiety disorders with substance use in adolescents. The associations between anxiety disorders and substance use differed according to the particular anxiety disorders and forms of substance use being examined, as well as by gender. Social phobia was associated with cigarette smoking among boys only. For girls, social phobia appeared to be negatively associated with drug use. For the other anxiety disorders, the associations with substance use tended to be stronger among girls. These findings highlight the need to improve clinical recognition of the anxiety disorders and to improve treatment access for afflicted adolescents. Future studies based on longitudinal data could further elucidate the relationships among anxiety disorders, gender, and substance use.

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