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Women and men appear to benefit in different ways from AA participation
Date:12/5/2012

n maintaining sobriety, whether or not they were attending AA meetings, and completed specialized assessments of factors like their confidence in their ability to stay sober in particular situations and whether or not their social contacts supported or discouraged efforts to maintain abstinence.

In September 2011, Kelly, Hoeppner and colleagues reported in the journal Addiction that increased confidence in the ability to maintain abstinence in social situations and spending more time with people who supported abstinence were the behavioral changes most strongly associated with successful recovery among overall Project MATCH participants attending AA meetings. The current study reanalyzed some of the data used in the Addiction study to see if there were differences between men and women in the impact of factors included in the assessments.

For both men and women, participation in AA increased confidence in the ability to cope with high-risk drinking situations and increased the number of social contacts who supported recovery efforts. But the effect of both of those changes on the ability to abstain from drinking was about twice as strong for men as for women. In contrast, women benefitted much more than men from improved confidence in their ability to abstain during times when they were sad or depressed. "It is striking that this effect was virtually absent in men while it was a major contributor to women's ability to remain abstinent and to limit the number of drinks they consumed when they did drink," says Hoeppner. Several factors that helped to reduce the intensity of drinking in men such as less depression and fewer friends who encouraged drinking did not appear to be as important for helping women.

Kelly says,"AA helps both men and women stay sober following treatment by enhancing sober social networks and boosting confidence in coping with high-risk social situations. In terms of alcoholism recovery more generally, we fo
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Contact: Kristen Stanton
kstanton3@partners.org
617-643-3907
Massachusetts General Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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