Author(s): Book SW, Thomas SE, Dempsey JP, Randall PK, Randall CL
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Abstract Individuals with social anxiety have difficulty participating in group settings. Although it makes intuitive sense that social anxiety could present a challenge in addiction treatment settings, which often involve small groups and encouragement to participate in self-help groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), to our knowledge no study has yet assessed the impact of shyness on the treatment experience. Assessment surveys were given to 110 individuals seeking intensive outpatient substance abuse treatment at three community treatment programs. Established cut-offs for presence of clinically-significant social anxiety indicated a prevalence of 37\%. Controlling for depression and worry, social anxiety was a unique predictor of endorsement that shyness interfered with willingness to talk to a therapist, speak up in group therapy, attend AA/NA, and ask somebody to be a sponsor. Socially anxious substance abusers were 4-8 times more likely to endorse that shyness interfered with addiction treatment activities. These findings have clinical and research implications.
This article was published in Addict Behav
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy