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Addiction. 1993 Jun;88(6):781-90.

Gender differences in the individual characteristics and life contexts of late-middle-aged and older problem drinkers.

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  • 1Center for Health Care Evaluation, Department of Veterans Affairs, Palo Alto, California.


This study focuses on gender differences in the individual characteristics and life contexts of late-life problem drinkers. Late-middle-aged women with drinking problems (n = 183) consumed less alcohol, had fewer drinking problems, and reported more recent onset of drinking problems than did their male counterparts (n = 476). They also used more psychoactive medications, were more depressed, and were less likely to seek alcohol treatment. Consistent with a gender role perspective on alcohol abuse, problem-drinking women had more family-related and fewer financial stressors than did problem-drinking men. Contrary to expectation, however, problem-drinking women reported more support from children, extended family members, and friends than did problem-drinking men. Moreover, women who continued to have drinking problems over a 1-year interval reported some unexpected short-term benefits at follow-up, including reduced spouse stressors. Women who had remitted at follow-up experienced less spouse support, and more family-related stressors and depression than did remitted men. They also lost support from extended family members over the 1-year interval. The results suggest a need for screening and treatment efforts tailored more closely to the life circumstances of women with late-life drinking problems.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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