Gender-appropriate and culturally responsive health care improves both short- and long-term outcomes, not just for women with substance use disorders but also for clients with almost any type of healthcare problem. The likelihood of good health or the prevalence of certain disorders is, in part, a product of gender. Certain health issues are unique to women; others affect women disproportionately compared to men; and still others have a different effect on women than on men. To add to these gender differences, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has identified critical racial and ethnic disparities in health that result in different outcomes or consequences in some groups. Other factors such as sexual orientation also have been shown to affect health status (Dean et al. 2000).
The risks of substance abuse, its consequences, and the processes for treatment and recovery also differ by gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, and other factors. Women’s risks for substance use disorders are best understood in the context in which the influences of gender, race and ethnicity, culture, education, economic status, age, geographic location, sexual orientation, and other factors converge. Understanding group differences across segments of the women’s population is critical to designing and implementing effective substance abuse treatment PROGRAMS for women.
This chapter provides an overview of available substance-related research for women in specific racial and ethnic groups, settings, and special populations in the United States across four DOMAINS: demographics, substance abuse patterns, clinical treatment issues, and resiliency factors. It highlights the need for cultural competence in the delivery of substance abuse treatment and suggests specific and culturally congruent clinical, programmatic, and administrative strategies. For more detailed information on substance related disorders and substance...