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

Fiona L. Shand, Louisa Degenhardt, Elliot C. Nelson, Richard P. Mattick

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14 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-54
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Anxiety Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010


  • Comorbidity
  • Opioid dependence
  • Social anxiety
  • Social phobia
  • Substance use disorder


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