Are Women More Likely to Become Alcoholics Then Men  Term Paper

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women more likely to become alcoholics then men are?. The writer explores several aspects of this issue and uses three literature reviews to answer the question. There were three sources used to complete this paper.

Are women more likely to become alcoholics then men are? In recent history the topic of alcoholism has moved to the forefront of the public eye. Years ago, the alcoholic was kept as the family secret. Children were taught not to discuss the drinking of the alcoholic parent. Spouses spent their married lives enabling the drinker by making excuses, calling the jobs and doing other things to protect the alcoholic form having to face the consequences of his or her actions. In those days, the focus was usually on the father. Men who drank were commonly recognized because of their diminished capacity support their families, their frequent physical abuse of their families and other factors that brought their problem to light. Women were not often scrutinized as they stayed home to raise the children and take care of the house, even when they became heavy drinkers themselves. In recent years the incidence of female alcoholism has been recognized and experts are looking at the effects this phenomena has on society. The discovery that women become alcoholics collided with the scientific belief that women and men have undeniable differences in many areas of development and life. This paper will address the hypothesis that women are more likely to become alcoholics then men are.

It is important to understand the propensity of females to become alcoholics for several reasons. One of the most important reasons is the children of the families. America has come a long way when it comes to the equality of males and females but studies have shown women still bear the lion's share of responsibility when it comes to the raising of the children.

Understanding the female's propensity for alcoholism will help society understand the importance of its treatment for the sake of the nurturing relationship between mother and children. In addition it is important to understand if women are more inclined to become alcoholics then men are so that future preventive and deterrent programs can be aimed at female populations.

This topic is important in the business world as well. In the past four decades more women have entered the workforce then ever before in this nation. The positions being held are no longer "female acceptable" jobs, but are a wide range of positions in every conceivable field. If women are more inclined to become alcoholics then men are it is important to know that for the purpose of business support as well. Many companies in the nation provide treatment programs for the purpose of helping alcoholic employees in their desire to recover. Science has shown conclusively that men and women are wired differently in several life areas. Therefore it becomes important to know whether women or men are more prone to become dependent on alcohol so the company can design programs that address each gender need.


One of the most trustworthy ways to determine the answer to a hypothesis is to conduct a literature review. A literature review critiques and analyzes already conducted and published studies along the same topic matter. It is important in a literature review to examine only peer reviewed studies to be sure the research was conducted correctly. A literature review can be used either as a precursor to a new study or as a study itself by using the former research results. This literature review will examine three peer reviewed journals for the purpose of answering the hypothesis.

In the first study the importance of cost offset was examined. This proves to be a valuable topic in whether women are more prone to alcoholism then men are because the rate of recidivism is an important factor when designing any program or relapse program (Zywiak, 1999). Women who are returned to treatment or develop health problems due to drinking because the current programs are geared more toward men place a high cost effectiveness burden on society at large. A woman who cannot work and become self sufficient because of drinking and many times has her children in the system which is an additional cost to society, presents a financial burden to the world. This study looked at the cost effectiveness of treating alcoholic women compared to the cost of not providing treatment to them (Zywiak, 1999).

The study was relevant to the topic because of the importance of considering cost factors when it comes to females and drinking.

The next study was even more focused on the topic of females and alcoholism.

Little attention has been paid to college women's drinking, partly because women drink less than college men do, partly because they are less likely to get into trouble with the authorities, and partly because women have only recently been understood to develop differently and to have different needs from those of men (Gleason, 1994). Recent theories stress the importance of relationships in women's development, identity, and self-esteem and failures in mutuality and intimacy as contributing to subjective pain and dysfunction. These theoretical formulations suggest a new understanding for women's use of alcohol, one that emphasizes drinking as a way of being with others, of seeking acceptance from peers, and of numbing the pain that comes from relationships that do not work. Women are at greater risk of being abused when drinking, and women who have been sexually or physically abused are at greater risk for abusing alcohol (Gleason, 1994)."

All of these elements point to the ability of a woman to become an alcoholic more than a man. Women have to fight society for equal treatment and opinion. Women are still not being paid as much as men and they are still not encouraged to go into the traditional male college programs such as engineering etc. Because of these current obstacles that women are still facing they have been shown through this study to drink more often and binge more strongly when they do drink. Whether it is to prove themselves in a man's world or to drown their frustration at having to compete in a man's world without equal access the fact remains that women in college drink more than men do. This could lead to a higher incidence of developed alcoholism in females than males.

A day or two after a first-year female student arrives at college, she will be invited to a fraternity party or other mixer to meet men, and her college involvement with alcohol will begin. Whether served legally or not, alcohol will be available, and her new dormitory friends will most likely be drinking. Feeling anxious, uncomfortable, and somewhat overwhelmed, the new student will find it difficult to refuse to drink -- even if she wants to refuse (Gleason, 1994). "

And the pattern is begun.

The relational theory plays a part in this study as well as the question. "With recent explorations of gender differences, psychologists, sociologists, educators, and other researchers are recognizing that traditional psychological theories have undervalued women's attributes and skills and have had a negative impact on women's self-esteem. This constant barrage on the way women view themselves sets the stage for women having a higher propensity for alcoholism then men do. Men receive many other encouragement for their accomplishments (Gleason, 1994).

The third review discusses the use of assessing parental alcoholism with an instrument called CASSI. This instrument does ascertain the differences in the mother and fathers drinking and asks questions which can lead to the conclusion that women are at more of a risk then me to become problem drinkers.(Knight, 1996).


The literature points to the underlying causes of female alcoholism and concludes that women are more prone…

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