Men have traditionally reported higher rates of alcohol and other substance use than women, however there is emerging evidence that women’s levels of substance use may be ‘catching up’ to men’s. This study involves a comprehensive review of the international literature to assess if there is evidence for a closing gender gap in the prevalence and harms of alcohol and cannabis use.
Men have traditionally reported higher rates of alcohol and other substance use compared to women. This extends to other measures such as prevalence of substance use disorders in the population and has been reported in many countries. However, there is emerging evidence that patterns of alcohol and substance use are changing, with women reportedly ‘catching up’ to their male counterparts. Such changes would have implications for research, prevention strategies and treatment models.
To systematically summarise the published literature on sex differences in key indicators of alcohol and cannabis epidemiology, with a particular focus on identifying if sex differences have changed over time.
The project comprises three search strategies:
- Explicit examination of cohort effects
- Explicit examination of gender effects
- Gold standard epidemiological studies that report key indicators by sex and age (cohort)
An initial literature search identified 2229 relevant studies. After eliminating duplicates and applying exclusion criteria, 80 studies remained. Preliminary analyses point to a convergence in male to female rates for drinking (and binge drinking). Analyses are ongoing.
Slade, T. , Chapman, C., Tonks, Z., Swift, W. and Teesson, T. (2013) International trends over time in the prevalence and harms of alcohol (and cannabis use): what is the evidence for the closing gender gap? NDARC Annual Symposium, Sydney, 4 September.
This project will provide an understanding of the changing prevalence of alcohol and cannabis use and harms over time. Sex-specific trends will be identified from which strategic recommendations regarding men’s and women’s drinking will be made.