Alcohol problems in women admitted to a level I trauma center: A gender- based comparison

Larry M. Gentilello, Frederick P. Rivara, Dennis M. Donovan, Andres Villaveces, Elizabeth Daranciang, Christopher W. Dunn, Richard R. Ries

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Background: Male patients constitute such a large proportion of trauma patients that most studies of alcohol problems in trauma patients have been carried out with clinical data largely or totally contributed by male patients. It may be incorrect to assume that the nature of alcoholism in women and men is identical, or that the size of the problem among women is small, eliminating the need to specifically study female patients. The purpose of this study was to perform a gender-based comparison of alcohol problems in trauma patients. Methods: Admitted injured patients underwent routine screening, including a blood alcohol concentration, serum γ-glutamyl transpeptidase, and the Short Michigan Alcohol Screening Test. A random sample of screen positive women and men underwent a comprehensive alcohol use and psychosocial assessment, and the results were compared by gender. Results: The screen-positive rate was higher for men, 51% versus 34% (p < 0.01). However, screen-positive women and men had similar problem severity as reflected by mean blood alcohol concentration (162 mg/dL vs. 142 mg/dL, p = 0.16) and Short Michigan Alcohol Screening Test scores (4.6 vs. 5.0, p = 0.32). The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test, NIMH-DIS, and Severity of Alcohol Dependence Data form showed that female trauma patients with alcohol problems have the same severity of dependence symptoms as men. However, women were significantly more likely to have liver dysfunction, depression, psychological distress, and recent physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. Conclusion: Alcohol problems are more common in male trauma patients, but women with alcohol problems are just as severely impaired, have at least as many adverse consequences of alcohol use as their male counterparts, and have more evidence of alcohol-related physical and psychological harm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)108-114
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2000


  • Alcohol
  • Alcoholism
  • Injuries
  • Intervention studies
  • Public health
  • Trauma centers
  • Traumatology
  • Treatment outcome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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