Women in addictions treatment: comparing VA and community samples

J Subst Abuse Treat. 2002 Jul;23(1):41-8. doi: 10.1016/s0740-5472(02)00242-8.


Despite increasing awareness of gender issues in substance use treatment, women with substance use disorders (SUD) and gender-specific treatment remain understudied. This study examines differences, including identification of comorbid issues and patients' perceived treatment needs, between women in different SUD treatment settings: an intensive VA outpatient program (VA; N = 76) and a private residential/outpatient program (Residence XII; N = 308). In both settings the Addiction Severity Index (ASI) was administered at intake; ASI data were collected from retrospective chart review. Results support previous findings that women entering SUD treatment endorse high rates of psychiatric and medical comorbidity, and past abuse. Women in VA SUD treatment experienced more impairment on indices of medical, psychiatric, and employment issues whereas the private agency sample had higher alcohol and family/social composite scores. The differences between and similarities among the two treatment groups have implications for design of women-specific SUD treatment programs.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Community Health Centers
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Outpatients
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Substance-Related Disorders / diagnosis
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Veterans
  • Women's Health*