Gender Differences in Prevalence of Substance Use Disorders among Individuals with Lifetime Exposure to Substances: Results from a Large Representative Sample
Address correspondence to Dr. Lev-Ran, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, 33 Russell Street, Room 2035, Toronto, ON, M5S2S1, Canada. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Background and Objectives
Research regarding substance use and substance use disorders (SUDs) shows significant gender differences in prevalence of substance use and dependence. Though lifetime exposure to substances is higher among males, previous reports have not regarded gender differences in prevalence of SUDs among individuals formerly exposed to substances. In addition, though substance abuse is particularly important when exploring gender differences, previous reports have largely focused on rates of transition to substance dependence alone. In this study, we explored gender differences in prevalence of SUDs among individuals with lifetime exposure to substances using a single diagnostic category (abuse or dependence).
We analyzed 11 different categories of substances: heroin, cocaine, cannabis, nicotine, alcohol, hallucinogens, inhalants, sedatives, tranquilizers, opioids, and amphetamines. Data were derived from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (Wave 1, n = 43,093). The impact of gender on prevalence of SUDs among individuals with lifetime exposure to substances was assessed with odds ratios (ORs) using logistic regressions and adjusted for socio-demographic factors.
Our results show that among individuals with lifetime exposure to substances, males had a significantly higher prevalence of alcohol (OR = 2.95), sedatives (OR = 2.00), cannabis (OR = 1.93), tranquilizers (OR = 1.64), opioids (OR = 1.54), hallucinogens (OR = 1.31), and cocaine (OR = 1.26) use disorders compared with females.
Conclusions and Scientific Significance
Using a single broad diagnostic category highlights gender differences in the prevalence of SUDs among individuals with former exposure to substances. Specifically, the significant gender differences found for alcohol, sedatives, and cannabis use disorders may be important for tailoring preventive measures targeted at reducing rates of SUDs among males using these substances. (Am J Addict 2012;XX:000–000) (Am J Addict 2013;22:7-13)