Alcohol use disorder in women: Risks and consequences of an adolescent onset and persistent course

Katherine T. Foster, Brian M. Hicks, William G. Iacono, Matthew McGue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

Women are more vulnerable to the deleterious effects of both acute and protracted alcohol use than men, but women's lower levels of alcohol consumption and alcohol use disorder (AUD) have resulted in a paucity of investigations on the development of alcohol problems in women. In particular, it is not clear to what extent the cascading effects of key etiological factors that contribute to an especially severe course of AUD in men also underlie the development of AUD in women. To fill this gap, we examined the adolescent risk factors and adult consequences associated with an adolescent onset and persistent course of AUD in a community sample of women (n = 636) from ages 17 to 29. Women with AUD exhibited greater psychopathology and psychosocial impairment than those without, with an adolescent onset and persistent course indicative of the greatest severity. Notably, high levels of impairment across all women with AUD reduced the utility of onset and course to differentiate profiles of risk and impairment. In contrast to previous work in men, even women whose AUD symptoms desisted continued to exhibit impairment, suggesting that an adolescent onset of AUD is associated with enduring consequences for women's health and functioning, even after ostensible "recovery.".

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)322-335
Number of pages14
JournalPsychology of Addictive Behaviors
Volume28
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2014

Keywords

  • adolescent risk factors
  • adult outcomes
  • alcohol use disorder
  • women

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