New Research: Men and Women Experience Different Outcomes After Alcohol Treatment

men in city talking

Previous research has explored differences between the way men and women are affected by drugs and alcohol, but is it possible for men and women to show differences in treatment outcomes? If you’re in recovery right now, consider the ways in which you’ve developed in your treatment program. Recognizing the differences between men and women could be beneficial not just for researchers, but for people in recovery and those working in treatment centers to be able to provide appropriate support.

A 2015 study published in the Journal of Religion and Health involved 122 participants – with 56 women and 56 men – who started and completed alcoholism treatment programs. The researchers had them complete questionnaires during week 1 of their treatment program, as well during the last week of their program. The questionnaires sought to address spiritual coping, forgiveness, and gratitude as it pertained to their growth and development. Here is a basic breakdown for each of these:

Spiritual coping

Positive: Pursuit of goal, sense and meaning; acquiring more self-knowledge; establishing and maintaining deep relationships with others; caring about others; seeking closeness to Nature; building a relationship with a Higher Being;

Negative: Emphasizing one’s weaknesses; perceiving people as egotistical, leading a person to act towards others with hostility, envy, etc.; holding a grudge towards a Higher Power


When a “harmed person is able to reduce their negative emotions, thoughts, and behaviors toward the transgressor.”


A warm sense of appreciation for someone or something, a sense of goodwill, and/or an act that derives from a feeling of appreciation and goodwill.

The study showed that at the start of treatment, women showed higher scores for negative spiritual coping and lower level of forgiveness than men. However, women’s scores for moral values increased (except for self-forgiveness) over the course of treatment, while men’s scores did not. By the end of the study, it was concluded that women develop their spiritual potential to a higher degree than men.

The differences between sexes can provide some insight into what factors should be considered when a person enters a treatment program. If you haven’t already, speak with a professional from a reputable treatment center today to learn more about participating in a customized treatment program for you.

Simple Recovery is a world-renowned, California state-licensed substance abuse recovery center. We offer dual diagnosis treatment, so if you are experiencing both substance abuse and symptoms of a mental disorder, call us today at 888-743-0490 so that we can work with you to restore your happiness, health, and well-being. You do not have to continue living this way; there are many people here ready to help you.