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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 1020-4989

Abstract

BELLO, Mariana; PUENTES-ROSAS, Esteban  and  ICAZA, María Elena Medina-Mora. The role of gender in the demand for treatment of problems associated with alcohol consumption in Mexico. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2008, vol.23, n.4, pp. 231-236. ISSN 1020-4989.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892008000400002.

OBJECTIVES: To update information available on the role that gender plays when consumers of alcohol seek help, as well as to evaluate the associations between the demand for treatment and other key variables. METHODS: Data came from 2002 National Survey on Addictions (Encuesta Nacional de Adicciones) in Mexico, which interviewed one randomly-selected individual from 12-65 years of age in each of 11 252 homes. The results of this study are based on the responses of the 5 406 individuals identified as consumers of alcohol. The demand for health care services was defined as seeking treatment for drinking-related problems during the last year. Alcohol consumers were defined as those people who had consumed alcohol during the last year. The national treatment-seeking prevalence rate was calculated by gender, consumption patterns, dependency syndrome, and other alcohol-related issues. In the logistical regression analyses, seeking treatment was used as the dependent variable. RESULTS: Of the total consumers, 1.4% sought treatment for drinking-related problems. For males, the corresponding percentage was 2.1%, while for women it was 0.2% (P < 0.001). For each woman with an alcohol dependency who got help, there were 49 males who did so. In the multivariate analysis, gender was significantly associated, using females as the reference, even when controlling for dependency and for absenteeism at work due to excessive alcohol consumption. CONCLUSIONS: The probability of seeking treatment is higher among males than females who are faced with cultural, family, and treatment-related barriers. Another important predictor is work absenteeism due to excess drinking. Health care planning needs to sharpen its focus through programs designed to address the specific needs of women.

Keywords : Mental health services; alcohol abuse; gender; Mexico.

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