Gender Comparisons on Quality-of-Life and Comorbid Alcohol Dependence and Major Depression
Keywords:Quality of life, life satisfaction, addiction, alcohol dependence, depression, gender, person-centered care.
AbstractIntroduction and Objectives: Compared to men, substance-addicted women have greater social vulnerabilities that may impact their symptom presentation and overall quality-of-life (QOL). The latter is gaining prominence as an outcome measure and key element of person-centered care. We aimed to compare in this study treatment-seeking men and women with co-morbid alcohol dependence and major depression on measures of depression severity, addiction severity, and quality-of-life and to examine associations between addiction/depression severity and quality-of-life separately in men and women. Methods: Men (n = 34) and women (n = 33) participating in a psychopharmacology trial for co-morbid alcohol dependence and major depression were administered the Addiction Severity Index (ASI), the 25-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D), and the Multicultural Quality of Life Index at baseline as part of a large assessment battery. Results: Women reported greater global QOL impairment than men despite being similar on measures of depression and addiction severity. Depression severity, but not addiction severity, was significantly associated with QOL impairment in both men and women. Discussion and Conclusions: Treatment-seeking women with co-morbid major depression and alcoholism report lower QOL (i.e., happiness and life satisfaction) than their male counterparts. Depressive symptoms, but not addiction-related problems, may contribute to global QOL impairment. Alternatively, QOL impairment may increase depressed mood. Overall, QOL assessments may identify areas of impairment and opportunities for health promotion not assessed through traditional measures used in addiction treatment programs, and these measures may be more sensitive to the specific needs of women. Consideration of all these factors is likely to enhance person-centered care.
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