Brief interventions for hazardous drinkers delivered in primary care are equally effective in men and women


Javier Ballesteros
Universidad del País Vasco
Dpto Neurociencias
Barrio Sarriena s/n
48940 Leioa
Tel: + 34 94 601 2799
Fax: + 34 94 464 9266


Background  Despite the accumulated evidence on the efficacy of brief interventions in hazardous drinkers some ambiguity remains regarding their differential effectiveness by gender.

Methods  Meta-analysis of independent studies conducted in primary health care settings with a follow-up of 6–12 months which report results separately by gender. Two outcome measures were selected: the quantity of typical weekly alcohol consumption and the frequency of drinkers who reported consumption below hazardous levels after the intervention.

Results  Seven studies were included in the meta-analysis. The standardized effect  sizes  for  the  reduction  of  alcohol  consumption  were  similar  in  men  (d =− 0.25; 95% CI = − 0.34 to −0.17) and women (d = − 0.26; 95% CI = − 0.38 to − 0.13). The odds ratios (OR) for the frequency of individuals who drank below harmful levels were also similar (four studies; OR for men = 2.32; 95% CI = 1.78–2.93; OR for women = 2.31; 95% CI = 1.60–3.17). The difference between genders was negligible.

Conclusion  Our results support the equality of outcomes among men and women achieved by brief interventions for hazardous alcohol consumption in primary care settings.