(CCETSW 2000) For example, comparisons f men and women entering treatment for alcoholism indicate that women (a) tend to do so earlier in the course f their problem drinking (i.e., they exhibit a shorter average progression from drinking to being intoxicated regularly to first seeking treatment); (b) are younger, poorer, and more likely to have children; (c) receive less emotional support from their intimate partners and family members; and (d) have a higher prevalence f psychiatric disorders, such as depression and anxiety.
It is not surprising that several studies have also found differences in treatment response and outcomes for male and female patients. For example, one f the few significant predictors f post treatment outcomes to emerge from Project MATCH, the most comprehensive alcoholism treatment outcome study conducted to date, was gender; women had a significantly higher percentage f days f abstinence from alcohol after treatment than men. Similarly, Sanchez-Craig, Leigh, Spivak, and Lei (1999) reported that alcoholic women had greater reductions in heavy and problem drinking after brief outpatient treatment than men. ...
In their review f the literature examining gender and alcoholism treatment, Hodgins, el-Guebaly, and Addington (1997) concluded that women tend to respond better to less structured interventions than do men.
Interpersonal conflict and relationship factors appear to play a particularly important role in the drinking behaviour f women. For example, Allan and Cooke (1985) found that, compared with men, women were more likely to drink in response to current life stressors and life events, such as marital discord, divorce, and children leaving the home. Consistent with these findings, Lutz (1991) found that, in contrast to alcoholic men, women were more likely to cite relationship problems as a primary motivational influence on becoming and remaining sober. An investigation by Connors, Maisto, and Zywiak (1998) revealed that women were significantly more likely than men to report conflict with their intimate partner as a primary relapse precipitant.
Because family and relationship factors appear to play a critical role in the maintenance and exacerbation f drinking problems as well as relapses after treatment, interventions specifically designed to address both relationship and drinking problems concurrently seem likely to have significant benefit for female alcoholic patients. A family-based treatment approach for alcohol use disorders that has significant empirical support is behavioural couples therapy (BCT). Studies conducted over the last 3 decades have found consistently that BCT is associated with positive outcomes for alcoholic couples and their families across multiple domains f functioning, including reductions in drinking, improvements in relationship adjustment, reductions in intimate partner violence, and fewer