The effects of alcohol and anxiousness on physiological and subjective responses to a social stressor in women

Beth A. Lewis, Nancy D. Vogeltanz-Holm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

Several studies have examined the validity of the tension reduction hypothesis as an explanatory model for the development of alcohol problems, but support has been inconsistent. In recent years, researchers have begun to examine how various individual differences variables moderate the relationship between alcohol consumption and reduction of anxiety. The present study examined how 40 women, either moderate or low in anxiety sensitivity (AS), responded to a social stressor (giving a body image speech) after consuming either a low dose of alcohol (0.4 ml/kg of body weight) or a placebo. Results indicated that of the participants reporting moderate AS, participants consuming alcohol reported more stress dampening as measured by heart rate in anticipation to the stressor than participants not consuming alcohol. Furthermore, of the participants consuming alcohol, those reporting high social anxiety reported more of an increase in heart rate than participants not consuming alcohol. Findings are discussed in terms of considering individual differences factors when examining predictions made from the tension reduction hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)529-545
Number of pages17
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Volume27
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 23 2002

Keywords

  • Alcohol
  • Anxiety sensitivity
  • Social anxiety
  • Tension reduction hypothesis

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