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Addict Behav. 1996 Jan-Feb;21(1):81-92.

Barriers to help-seeking for change in drinking: a gender-focused review of the literature.

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Addiction Research Foundation, Toronto, Ontario.


Women with drinking problems are less likely than men to utilize alcohol-specific treatment services; they are comparatively more likely to seek help in general health and mental health care settings. These patterns in service utilization may be attributable, in part, to gender differences in barriers or disincentives to seeking and receiving care for alcohol abuse. In this paper we provide a gender-focused review of research on barriers to help-seeking for addictions behavior change. Two major categories of barrier, involving client and treatment program characteristics, appear to have a greater impact on service utilization of women than men. Insights gained from barriers literature provide valuable direction for future research and suggest applications in clinical service provision and treatment planning.

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