The relative effectiveness of women-only and mixed-gender treatment for substance-abusing women

J Subst Abuse Treat. 2011 Jun;40(4):336-48. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2010.12.001. Epub 2011 Feb 11.


Following research indicating that the treatment needs of women are different from those of men, researchers and clinicians have argued that drug treatment programs for women should be designed to take their needs into account. Such programs tend to admit only women and incorporate philosophies and activities that are based on a social, peer-based model that is responsive to women's needs. To assess the relative effectiveness of women-only (WO) outpatient programs compared with mixed-gender (MG) outpatient programs, 291 study volunteers were recruited (152 WO, 139 MG), and a 1-year follow-up was completed with 259 women (135 WO, 124 MG). Using bivariate, logistic regression, and generalized estimating equation analysis, the following four outcomes were examined: drug and alcohol use, criminal activity, arrests, and employment. In both groups, women showed improvement in the four outcome measures. Comparison of the groups on outcomes yielded mixed results; women who participated in the WO treatment reported significantly less substance use and criminal activity than women in the MG treatment, but there were no differences in arrest or employment status at follow-up compared with those in the MG treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Crime
  • Employment
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Sex Factors
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Women