Behavioral couple therapy for gay and lesbian couples with alcohol use disorders

J Subst Abuse Treat. 2009 Dec;37(4):379-87. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2009.05.001. Epub 2009 Jun 23.


Gay (n = 52) and lesbian (n = 48) patients with alcohol use disorder (AUD) and their non-substance-abusing same-sex relationship partners were randomly assigned to equally intensive interventions consisting of (a) behavioral couples therapy (BCT) plus individual-based treatment (IBT) or (b) IBT only. This study reports two separate trials, one with gay male participants and one with lesbian female participants. For both gay and lesbian patients with AUD, those who received BCT had a significantly lower percentage of days of heavy drinking during the year after treatment than patients who received IBT only. In addition, both gay and lesbian couples who received BCT reported higher levels of relationship adjustment at the end of treatment and in the year after treatment than those who received IBT only. Thus, the response of gay and lesbian couples with an alcoholic member to BCT was consistent with what has been observed with heterosexual couples.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Couples Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Homosexuality, Female / psychology
  • Homosexuality, Male / psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Temperance
  • Young Adult