From Generic to Gender-Responsive Treatment: Changes in Social Policies, Treatment, and Outcomes

< Back to All Resources

In the past three decades, there has been increased recognition of the role of gender in influencing the course of substance use and treatment utilization. Concurrently, a substantial body of research on gender-related issues and substance abuse and its treatment has developed. This article reviews (1) policy initiatives that led to the growth of "specialized" treatment programs and services for women and recent policy changes that influence the provision of substance abuse treatment to women; (2) gender differences in the prevalence of substance use disorders and admissions to treatment; (3) gender differences in treatment needs,utilization, and outcomes, including long-term outcomes following treatment; (4) organizational characteristics of substance abuse treatment providers for women and the types of services provided in these programs; (5) treatment outcomes in gender-specific programs for women; and (6) the effectiveness of evidence-based treatment practices that have either been modified, or have the potential to be adapted, to address the treatment needs of women. This body of research is viewed within the context of a series of paradigm shifts from a generic treatment approach to a focus on gender differences and gender specificity and, most recently, to an emergent focus on gender responsiveness.

Related Topics

  • Behavioral Health
  • Medical Care
  • Policy
  • Program Evaluation