Despite consistent evidence of gender differences in the nature of drug dependence, there has been little consideration of within-gender differences in the clinical presentation of drug-abusing women. In this study, cluster analysis and standardized ratings obtained from 153 women seeking methadone maintenance treatment were used to define four groups of women with different profiles of problem severity. The four clusters were characterized as Unemployed, Medically Ill, Psychiatrically Distressed, and Higher Functioning. When the validity of this four-cluster solution was examined, there were significant differences in the ethnic composition of the four groups, and the four clusters differed in terms of a) psychiatric status, b) medical status, c) vocational-educational history, d) lifetime history of maltreatment, and e) perception of social support available from friends and family. The findings suggest that, although understanding of gender differences cannot be ignored, understanding of ways women differ from one another may be as important in the development of gender-sensitive treatment programs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health