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Background: Residential treatment for alcoholism is associated with high completion rates for clients, yet there appear to be gender disparities in patient referrals and treatment completion rates. We studied whether (A) gender is associated with differential patient placement to outpatient vs. residential treatment facilities and (B) completion rates differ by gender.
Methods: In this cross-sectional study, we analyzed the admission and discharge data from 185 publicly funded substance abuse treatment facilities across Los Angeles County between 2005 and 2010.
Results: Among the 33,745 studied cases, women were referred to residential treatment facilities less frequently than men (75% vs. 66%). The adjusted results derived from logistic regression models confirmed that females were more likely to be referred to outpatient treatment than to residential treatment facilities (odds ratio [OR]: 1.15, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.05–1.26). In addition, we observed that compared to White/Caucasian patients, all other races were associated with more referral to outpatient facilities (ie, less referral to residential facilities), indicating a racial disparity on the top of the observed gender disparity. However, there was no significant link between gender and treatment completion rates (OR: 0.93, 95% CI: 0.86–1.00).
Conclusions: Women seem to have treatment completion rates comparable to men, yet they are less likely to be referred to residential treatment facilities. Hence, there still remains a gender disparity in alcoholic patient referrals. Further studies should delineate which specific therapeutic aspects and programmatic components of women-focused treatments are essential to augment positive treatment outcomes.
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