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Factors associated with women achieving and maintaining abstinence from alcohol: a rapid evidence assessment

Sally Marlow (Addictions Department, King’s College London, London, UK)
Daniel Stahl (Department of Biostatistics and Health Informatics, King’s College London, London, UK)
Gail Gilchrist (Addictions Department, King’s College London, London, UK)

Advances in Dual Diagnosis

ISSN: 1757-0972

Article publication date: 18 October 2019

Issue publication date: 18 October 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to review the literature on the factors related to women’s ability to achieve and maintain abstinence from alcohol.

Design/methodology/approach

A rapid evidence assessment was carried out in four stages: definitions and research questions were agreed, search and selection were completed, data were extracted, quality of studies was assessed, and findings were synthesised and presented.

Findings

Medline, PsycINFO, CINAHL and ASSIA were searched for cohort studies published in English during January 2000–February 2015. Expanded search terms for Women, Alcohol and Abstinence, and Cohort were used to identify relevant studies for inclusion, resulting in 1,040 records. Of these, 32 manuscripts from 31 studies were eligible for inclusion in the review. Alcohol-related factors such as increased quantity and frequency of alcohol consumption were related to lower likelihood of achieving and maintaining abstinence; treatment factors such as type of treatment and number of treatment episodes were related to higher and lower likelihood; demographic factors such as financial problems and poor housing status were related to lower likelihood; and psychological factors such as craving, other drug use and comorbid health problems were linked to lower likelihood.

Originality/value

To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first time the factors related to the specific outcome of abstinence in women have been synthesised. Many of the factors found are also known to contribute to vulnerability for developing alcohol problems. The review revealed the paucity of studies with female only samples, or where results for women were reported separately.

Keywords

Citation

Marlow, S., Stahl, D. and Gilchrist, G. (2019), "Factors associated with women achieving and maintaining abstinence from alcohol: a rapid evidence assessment", Advances in Dual Diagnosis, Vol. 12 No. 4, pp. 161-172. https://doi.org/10.1108/ADD-12-2018-0024

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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