British Journal of Clinical Psychology

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Volume 24 Issue 4 (November 1985), Pages 225-304

Gender differences in the functions and effects of moderate and excessive drinking (pages 265-279)

In a study comparing abstinence and controlled drinking treatments, differences were found between men (n = 30) and women (n = 16) which confirmed some previous views on sex differences and problem drinking, and which have implications for choice of drinking treatment goal. On average women had problems of shorter duration, were less likely to have previously received out‐patient specialist treatment only, reported consuming smaller quantities of alcohol, and reported a more regular recent pattern of consumption. Mean SADQ scores, and numbers ‘ definitely alcoholic’ by Rand criteria, were similar, as were the numbers reporting a positive family history of drinking problems. Contrary to expectations, women were no more likely than men to report interpersonal functions and effects of drinking. Men were more likely than women to report drinking for positive emotional or social reasons or because of social pressure, were more likely to report positive effects of drinking, and among negative effects were more likely than women to report effects on work, finances, leisure, and fitness. Levels of self‐esteem were very similar, but men described more positive effects of moderate drinking upon self‐esteem than women.

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