Gender differences in prevalence of substance use disorders among individuals with lifetime exposure to substances: Results from a large representative sample

Shaul Lev-Ran*, Yann Le Strat, Sameer Imtiaz, Jürgen Rehm, Bernard Le Foll

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background and Objectives Research regarding substance use and substance use disorders (SUDs) shows significant gender differences in prevalence of substance use and dependence. Though lifetime exposure to substances is higher among males, previous reports have not regarded gender differences in prevalence of SUDs among individuals formerly exposed to substances. In addition, though substance abuse is particularly important when exploring gender differences, previous reports have largely focused on rates of transition to substance dependence alone. In this study, we explored gender differences in prevalence of SUDs among individuals with lifetime exposure to substances using a single diagnostic category (abuse or dependence). Methods We analyzed 11 different categories of substances: heroin, cocaine, cannabis, nicotine, alcohol, hallucinogens, inhalants, sedatives, tranquilizers, opioids, and amphetamines. Data were derived from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (Wave 1, n = 43,093). The impact of gender on prevalence of SUDs among individuals with lifetime exposure to substances was assessed with odds ratios (ORs) using logistic regressions and adjusted for socio-demographic factors. Results Our results show that among individuals with lifetime exposure to substances, males had a significantly higher prevalence of alcohol (OR = 2.95), sedatives (OR = 2.00), cannabis (OR = 1.93), tranquilizers (OR = 1.64), opioids (OR = 1.54), hallucinogens (OR = 1.31), and cocaine (OR = 1.26) use disorders compared with females. Conclusions and Scientific Significance Using a single broad diagnostic category highlights gender differences in the prevalence of SUDs among individuals with former exposure to substances. Specifically, the significant gender differences found for alcohol, sedatives, and cannabis use disorders may be important for tailoring preventive measures targeted at reducing rates of SUDs among males using these substances.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-13
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal on Addictions
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes

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