The Gender Risk–Severity Paradox for Alcohol Use Disorder From Adolescence Through Young Adulthood

Katherine T. Foster, Brian M. Hicks, C. Emily Durbin, William G. Iacono, Matt McGue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

A large proportion of the public health costs of alcohol use disorder (AUD) can be accounted for by a small percentage of severe cases with a chronic course starting in adolescence and persisting into adulthood. However, chronicity may be a less effective marker of AUD severity in women than men due to a gender risk–severity paradox, wherein comparable levels of risk exposure yield more co-occurring problems for women than men with AUD. To model this paradox, we compared trajectories of alcohol and drug use problems, depression symptoms, and antisocial behavior from ages 17 to 29 in men and women with a persistent, desistent, or no history of AUD. Problems followed a quadratic trajectory (i.e., increases followed by decreases), with gender and AUD chronicity moderating age-related change. Specifically, persistent and desistent courses differentiated the severity of problems more effectively in men while chronicity had less utility for differentiating AUD severity in women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)375-386
Number of pages12
JournalEmerging Adulthood
Volume6
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

Keywords

  • adolescent problems
  • alcohol use disorder
  • development
  • emerging adulthood
  • gender

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