Surprisingly high 12-Step attendance?

surprise result road by dougtone

More evidence that women (Young women, in this case.) affiliate with and benefit from AA at rates at least as high as men. (More here.)

It has been assumed that young women often don’t engage in 12-Step meeting environments, because they see them as a male-dominated atmosphere. Yet that notion has rarely been subjected to critical analysis, and now members of Hazelden’s Butler Center for Research have found quite the opposite in a newly published research paper.

The latest edition of Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly (July-September 2011) includes an article describing the Hazelden center’s analysis of 139 young women who attended 12-Step based residential treatment, finding that women ages 17 to 23 were as likely as men in the same age group to attend 12-Step meetings and engage in related activities post-treatment. In addition, the researchers found that more frequent post-treatment meeting attendance among young women was associated with better drinking outcomes at six months, as measured by number of drinking days and abstinence status.

The headline of this piece was, “Young women show surprisingly high 12-Step attendance in Hazelden analysis

Why surprising? Isn’t there plenty of pre-existing corroborating evidence to support this finding if one takes the time to look?

The marketing director of a treatment program recently sent a mass email stating that he was pulling all of their advertising from this magazine after opening the most recent issue and finding:

  • “7 full pages of vivitrol ads”;
  • a deceptive looking cover page that was “just another ad about vivitrol”;
  • a “5 page article … bashing 72 years of 12 step outcomes in favor of outpatient and medication management”;
  • this article also argued that there is little need for inpatient and residential treatment and long term, in particular; and
  • further,  that author argued that “insurance companies should not cover the cost of our addiction patients to go to rehab for 12 step programming.”
Is there predisposition to uncritically accept medicalized models and adopt a skeptical attitude toward 12 step and other traditional treatment modalities?

One thought on “Surprisingly high 12-Step attendance?

  1. Interesting. I remember seeing the results of a survey conducted by AA that found more men attended meetings than women, in general. There’s also been a study reported, recently, that men are more likely to become substance abusers than women. Of course I don’t have links for either of these… However I can say from experience that women don’t eschew meetings ” because they see them as a male-dominated atmosphere.” At least, now the women I know. I have heard from people who went to their first meetings more than a decade ago that the meetings seemed male dominated, then, however I don’t hear that much, now.

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