Background: There is limited knowledge of the course of social anxiety disorder (SAD) from adolescence into adulthood, and how SAD and alcohol use disorder (AUD) symptoms change together over time. The current study examined how persistent and adolescent-limited SAD relate to alcohol symptom trajectories across adolescence and into adulthood, as well as gender differences in the course of SAD and AUD symptoms. Methods: Participants were 788 youth (ages 12 to 18 at the baseline assessment; 46.2% female; 80.5% White) recruited from the community (n = 220) and from clinical programs (n = 568). Youth completed clinical interviews on their lifetime history of AUD symptoms and SAD at baseline and were followed through age 25. Multivariate polynomial growth mixture modeling was used to estimate developmental trajectories for SAD and AUD symptoms separately, then together in a dual trajectory model. Gender differences were examined using a classify-analyze approach. Results: Three SAD trajectory classes were identified: adolescent-limited (15%), persistent (6%), and no SAD (79%). For AUD symptoms, 5 trajectories were identified: severe (10%), moderate (22%), remitting (18%), young adult onset (22%), and stable low (28%). Those with a history of SAD were about twice as likely to be in the severe AUD symptom class compared to those without a history of SAD. Compared to those with persisting SAD, those in the adolescent-limited SAD class were more likely to belong to the stable low AUD trajectory. Compared to males with SAD, females with SAD were less likely to be in the moderate AUD symptom class and were more likely to be in stable low and young adult onset AUD symptom classes. Conclusions: A history of SAD was associated with membership in the severe AUD trajectory group. The association of gender with SAD and AUD differed depending on developmental period. Future research should examine whether treating SAD in early adolescence may prevent subsequent AUD symptoms.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Social Anxiety