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J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 1997 Sep;36(9):1195-203.

Gender and comorbid psychopathology in adolescents with alcohol dependence.

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Pittsburgh Adolescent Alcohol Research Center, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, PA, USA.



Although several mental disorders have been shown to be common in adolescents with substance use disorders, prior studies have not specifically focused on alcohol dependence and have not had sufficient sample sizes to examine gender effects. This study contrasts mental disorder diagnoses and symptoms between a sample of adolescents with alcohol dependence and a community control sample of adolescents and incorporates gender analyses.


Adolescents (aged 14 years 0 months to 18 years 0 months) with alcohol dependence (females: n = 55; males: n = 78) and community-dwelling control adolescents without substance use disorders (females: n = 44; males: n = 42) were assessed by means of a semistructured interview for DSM-III-R.


While cannabis and hallucinogen use disorders were common in the alcohol dependence group, females and males had similar rates. Conduct disorder (CD), oppositional defiant disorder, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, major depression (MD), and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) had significantly higher rates in the alcohol dependence than in the community control group. Depression and PTSD symptoms were more strongly associated with alcohol dependence in females than in males. A configural frequency analysis showed that CD and MD tended to occur together in both female and male adolescents with alcohol dependence.


While alcohol-dependent females and males similarly exhibited more comorbid disorders than control adolescents, gender affects the relationship of alcohol dependence to MD and PTSD. Rather than reflecting distinct types, the comorbid disorders of CD and MD jointly characterize many adolescents with alcohol dependence.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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