Drug Alcohol Depend 2014 Jul 20;140:48-55. Epub 2014 Mar 20.
Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA; Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA; Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA.
Background: Prior studies on treatment for alcohol-related problems have yielded mixed results with respect to gender and race/ethnicity disparities. Additionally, little is known about gender and racial differences in time to first alcohol-related service contact amongst persons with alcohol dependence. This study explored gender and race/ethnicity differences for first alcohol-related service utilization in a population-based sample.
Methods: Primary analyses were restricted to Blacks, Whites and Hispanics, ages 18-44, with lifetime alcohol dependence (n=3311) in Wave 1 of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. We compared time to service use among men and women within and across race/ethnicity strata using multivariable Cox proportional hazard methods.
Results: In the sample of individuals age <45 with alcohol dependence, only 19.5% reported alcohol-related service use. Overall, women were less likely than men to receive alcohol-related services in their lifetime. However, women who did receive treatment were younger at first service utilization and had a shorter interval between drinking onset and service use than men. Gender differences were consistent across racial/ethnic groups but only statistically significant for Whites. There were no appreciable race/ethnicity differences in hazard ratios for alcohol-related service use or time from drinking initiation to first service contact. Results of sensitivity analyses for persons ≥45 years old are discussed.
Conclusions: There are important gender differences in receipt of and time from drinking initiation to service utilization among persons with alcohol dependence. Increased recognition of these differences may promote investigation of factors underlying differences and identification of barriers to services.