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Gender differences in help-utilization and the 8-year course of alcohol abuse.

Timko C, Moos RH, Finney JW, Connell EG. Gender differences in help-utilization and the 8-year course of alcohol abuse. Addiction. 2002 Jul 1; 97(7):877-89.

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AIMS: The aim of this study was to compare initially untreated women and men problem drinkers on help-utilization and outcomes over 8 years. DESIGN AND PARTICIPANTS: At the time of the 8-year follow-up, individuals (N = 466, 49% female) had self-selected into four groups: no help, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) only, formal treatment only or formal treatment plus AA. MEASUREMENTS: At baseline and 1, 3 and 8 years later, participants completed measures of drinking and functioning. FINDINGS: Women were generally worse off than men on baseline drinking and functioning indices. In keeping with their poorer baseline status, women were more likely to participate in AA, and had longer in-patient stays during the next year. When women's baseline status was controlled, women had better outcomes than did men at 1 and 8 years. Generally, women and men did not differ on the extent to which obtaining help, or a particular type of help, was related to improved outcomes. Regarding drinking outcomes, women benefited more than did men from more AA attendance during years 2-8 of follow-up. CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that although alcoholism interventions were designed primarily for men, they are currently delivered in ways that are also useful to women. Problem-drinking women appear to benefit from sustained participation in AA, which emphasizes bonding with supportive peers to maintain abstinence.

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