Aims. To assess the importance of gender and marital status on self-efficacy expectancies of alcohol abusers in treatment. Design, participants and setting. Cross-sectional study with a group of alcohol abusers in treatment (n=259, 56 women) at the Bergen Clinics Foundation, Norway. Measurements. The Situational Confidence Questionnaire was applied for the self-efficacy assessment. Findings. Self-reports of significant life problems were associated with low self-efficacy expectancies. Controlling for this, female abusers scored significantly higher than their male counterparts on risk of relapse in "positive emotional state" and "pleasant emotional states with others". Conclusions. Situations perceived as being at high risk for relapse were associated with gender and significant life problems. The findings have implications for a more differentiated approach in the relapse prevention treatment programmes.