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Gender, treatment and self-help in remission from alcohol use disorders.

Moos RH, Moos BS, Timko C. Gender, treatment and self-help in remission from alcohol use disorders. Clinical Medicine & Research. 2006 Sep 1; 4(3):163-74.

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OBJECTIVES: To examine gender differences in the influence of treatment, self-help groups and life context and coping factors on remission among initially untreated individuals with alcohol use disorders. DESIGN: A naturalistic study in which individuals were assessed at baseline and 1, 8 and 16 years later. SETTING: Participants initiated help-seeking with the alcoholism service system by contacting an information and referral service or detoxification program. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 461 individuals with alcohol use disorders (50% women). METHODS: Participants were assessed by mail surveys and telephone interviews on participation in professional treatment and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), alcohol-related functioning and indices of life context and coping. RESULTS: Compared to men, women were more likely to participate in treatment and AA, and to experience better alcohol-related and life context outcomes. In general, women and men who participated in treatment and/or AA for a longer duration were more likely to achieve remission. However, women benefited somewhat more than men from extended participation in AA. Continuing depression and reliance on avoidance coping were more closely associated with lack of remission among men than among women. CONCLUSION: Compared to men, women with alcohol use disorders were more likely to obtain help and achieve remission. Women tended to benefit more from continued participation in AA and showed greater reductions in depression and avoidance coping than men did. These findings identify specific targets for clinical interventions that appear to be especially beneficial for women and that may also enhance the likelihood of recovery among men.

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