Reinforcing effects of diazepam under anxiogenic conditions in individuals with social anxiety

Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. 2005 Nov;13(4):348-356. doi: 10.1037/1064-1297.13.4.348.


Diazepam (DZ) reinforcement was tested under anxiogenic (public speaking) and neutral (computer task) conditions. Individuals with social anxiety disorder (n = 11) and healthy controls (n = 11) participated in two 5-session phases. Each phase used a standard choice procedure (2 sample, 3 choice sessions) comparing 10-mg DZ and placebo. During the public speaking condition, DZ preference was greater among the participants with social anxiety compared with controls (81.8% vs. 36.4%; p < .05). Participants with social anxiety also gave DZ significantly higher crossover values on the multiple choice procedure under the speech condition compared with the computer condition. Subjective effects indicated that DZ reduced anxiety when levels were elevated during the speech in socially anxious participants. These results suggest that DZ reinforcement may occur under conditions of heightened anxiety by bestowing therapeutic efficacy.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / therapeutic use
  • Anxiety Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Computer User Training
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Diazepam / pharmacology
  • Diazepam / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Fear / drug effects
  • Fear / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Psychological
  • Reinforcement, Psychology*
  • Self Administration
  • Self-Assessment
  • Speech
  • Task Performance and Analysis


  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Diazepam