Alcoholic women and men: a comparative study of social and familial aspects and outcome
ABSTRACT Objective: Alcoholic men-women ratio has ranged from 14:1 to 2:1, suggesting that female alcoholism should be further studied. The purpose of the current study was to compare alcohol dependence severity and treatment outcome between alcoholic men and women. Methods: In this longitudinal study, 114 male and 57 female alcoholics (ICD-10 criteria), who started treatment between 1990 and 1994 at the Botucatu Medical School Outpatient Clinic, were retrospectively and prospectively assessed up to July 1997. Semi-structured interviews were conducted and the severity of alcohol dependence was assessed (Short Alcohol Dependence Data -- SADD). Results/Conclusions: The results showed poorly structured families, 55.6% of women and 65.7% of men reported relationship problems and 74.1% of women and 61.1% of men reported domestic violence. When compared to men, women started abusing alcohol later in life (p=0.01) and, usually, with their husbands (p=0.00). The course of treatment did not differ between genders. Regardless of gender, the main factors associated with a better response to treatment were: degree of alcohol dependence severity (mildly and moderately dependent users had 5.59-fold better chances of improvement than those severely dependent), religious practice (2.3-fold better chances of improving) and follow-up length, which was negatively associated with chance of improvement (0.68-fold less chance of improvement than those who remained under shorter treatment).