Holdcraft, L.C. & Iacono, W.G. (2004). Cross-generational Effects on Gender Differences in Psychoactive Drug Abuse and Dependence. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 74, 147-158.
Background: Studies of patients with cocaine and heroin use disorders have shown gender differences in prevalence, course, and outcome.
These differences may be decreasing in successive generations. Less is known about gender differences in course and symptomatology for other illicit drug use disorders, especially in community samples.
Method: Participants (1323 men and 1384 women) who were biological or step-parents of twins and born in the 1940–1960s, from the Minnesota Twin-Family Study (MTFS) were divided into two cohorts based on the median birth year. A structured interview was used to assess DSM-III-R cannabis, amphetamine, cocaine and hallucinogen use disorders.
Results: There was a higher prevalence of each of these drug disorders and earlier onset of cannabis and amphetamine use disorders in later-born participants. For most drug use disorder categories, men and women were similar with respect to age of onset and severity of disorder but women had a shorter course of drug use disorders. Women with amphetamine disorders were atypical with respect to having a higher frequency of use but similar number of lifetime uses compared to men, and more emotional effects of amphetamine intoxication than men. In addition, women with amphetamine disorders were more likely to have anorexia nervosa than those without amphetamine disorders.
Conclusions: These results have several implications for prevention, etiology and treatment.
Holdcraft, L.C., & Iacono, W.G. (2002). Cohort effects on Gender Differences in Alcohol Dependence. Addiction, 97, 1025-1036.
Aims: The present study investigated the presence of cohort effects on gender differences in the course, severity and symptomatology of DSM-III-R alcohol dependence in a community-based sample.
Design: A comparison of substance-related variables among men and women divided into two groups based on the median birth year of the sample was conducted.
Participants: Participants were 468 men and 132 women with life-time alcohol dependence, the vast majority of whom were born between 1941 and 1960.
Measurements: Substance use and DSM-III-R substance use disorders were assessed by a structured interview administered in person.
Findings: Individuals born after 1951 had higher rates of alcohol dependence. Among individuals with alcohol dependence, those born after 1951 had an earlier onset and longer duration of alcohol-related problems. Significant interactions indicated that these effects were stronger for women than men.
Conclusions: Risk for alcohol dependence appears to be rising in younger generations, and particularly for younger women, making them an important target group for prevention and treatment programs.