New research compares the mortality of female alcoholics randomly assigned to the woman-only program early treatment for Women with Alcohol Addiction’ (EWA) versus those who received mixed gender ‘Treatment As Usual’ (TAU).
Randomized controlled trial involving 2-year follow-up by personal interview and mortality register data through 27 years of 200 women first time treated for alcohol use disorder (AUD; EWA, n = 100 and TAU, n = 100), who were consecutively recruited during 1983–1984.
Data from the Causes of Death Register were used to test for mortality differences related to group interaction predictors such as age, inpatient versus outpatient status at intake and 2-year drinking outcome.
Significantly lower mortality was found among younger women who participated in women’s alcohol treatment compared with those who received TAU. This difference lasted nearly 20 years after intake to treatment. For women who only needed outpatient treatment, reduced mortality was found in the EWA group, even for older women.
Increased mortality was found for TAU women who did not attend the 2-year follow-up compared with those who attended; no such difference was found for EWA women. This indicates different attrition mechanisms in the two groups. Thus, previously reported treatment effects may have been underestimated. EWA was a more comprehensive program than TAU while also being single gender.
EWA, specifically developed to meet a broad spectrum of problems among women with AUDs, was more effective than TAU, a mixed gender program. It was not possible to separate whether this was in part because it was a more comprehensive program, as well as being single gender.