Gender differences in DUI in treatment in Texas
Objective: This is a study of 8,464 adult women and 21,155 adult males who entered substance abuse treatment in Texas between 2000 and 2005. Participants were either on probation for driving under the influence (DUI), were referred to treatment by DUI probation, or had been arrested for DUI in the past year.
Methods: The female and male clients were compared on demographic characteristics, substance use patterns, DSM-IV diagnoses, and levels of impairment. T tests and chi square tests were used to determine significance and multivariate logistic regression identified predictors of completing treatment and being abstinent at follow-up.
Results: The proportion of females who were sent to treatment as a result of DUI increased from 27% in 2000 to 32% in 2005. Females were significantly more likely than males to be White (73% vs. 56%), to have used substances a shorter period of time (17 vs. 19 years), to be seeking custody to regain their children (11% vs. 2%), to meet the DSM criteria for drug dependence (32% vs. 23%), to have injected drugs (31% vs. 23%), to have used substances daily (42% vs. 40%), to have a depressive disorder (16% vs. 7%) or bipolar disorder (12% vs. 5%), and to be have been in treatment before (60% vs. 49%). In contrast, males were more likely to be alcohol dependent (49% vs. 44%). Females were less likely to complete treatment (67% vs. 72%) and reported significantly more days of problems on the 6 domains of the ASI at both admission and at 60-day follow-up. Furthermore, at follow-up, they were more likely to be living with someone who abused alcohol or used drugs (9% vs.7%).
Conclusions: Although females comprised only 29% of the DUI treatment admissions, they were more impaired and experienced more problems than their male counterparts. The findings indicate that additional resources, including treatment for co-occurring mental health problems and living in sober households, may be keys to helping these women achieve abstinence and prevent additional DUI episodes.
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