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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Iowa: Study Finds Women Seek and Resist Help for Alcoholism in Different Ways Than Men

A new study from the University of Iowa finds that women are less likely to get help for a drinking problem and are more likely to believe the problem will get better on its own.

 The study, which digs deep into the differences in the way men and women handle excessive alcohol consumption, suggests that different strategies for dealing with the problem should be developed for men and women.

 “We should ask ourselves, ‘How can we tailor services for women? How can we improve problem recognition? What messages will encourage women who have drinking problems to get help?’” says Dr. Paul Gilbert, assistant professor of community and behavioral health in the University of Iowa College of Public Health and the study’s lead author.

 The survey confirmed the results of past studies, which found that the majority of adults with alcohol-use disorders do not seek help from specialty clinics or community-based groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous. The survey also confirmed that women are less likely to utilize these alcohol services than men. But Dr. Gilbert says the survey-data analysis is the first to examine differences in specific reasons why adults don’t look for help.

The study analyzed data gathered in a random survey of Americans by the National Institutes of Health asking general health-related questions. The first survey was taken in 2000 and 2001, and the respondents were asked to complete a second survey in 2004 and 2005. Dr. Gilbert’s study analyzed about 2,600 of the respondents who participated in both surveys and whose responses indicated they met the criteria for alcohol abuse or dependence.

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