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Characterizing Alcohol Use Behaviors among Homeless Men and Women

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Objectives: In this study, we characterized alcohol use behaviors by sex among sheltered homeless adults and explored associations with health and readiness to change drinking behaviors. Methods: Participants (N = 581; 63.7% men; Mage = 43.6, 29.4% white) self-reported alcohol use and readiness to change drinking behaviors. Sex differences were analyzed via Wilcoxon ranksum, chi-square tests, logistic regression, and ANCOVAs. Results: Overall, 38.5% of the sample met criteria for current at-risk drinking, 39.7% self-reported a history of alcohol problems, and 22.9% reported having a formal alcohol use disorder (AUD) diagnosis. Among current alcohol users, 83.8% reported at-risk drinking. Men had more drinks per drinking day, more drinks per week, and more drinking days per week when compared to women. No sex differences were found for at-risk drinking, self-reported alcohol problems, probable alcohol abuse/dependence, AUD diagnosis, readiness to change drinking, or recent alcohol/substance abuse counseling. Conclusions: High rates of at-risk drinking were found among alcohol users. Homeless men and women did not exhibit differences in several manifestations of problematic alcohol use. Alcohol use interventions might be equally appealing to both sexes given equivalent readiness to change drinking; however, rates of recent treatment receipt were low.
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Keywords: ALCOHOL DEPENDENCE; ALCOHOL USE; DRINKING BEHAVIORS; HOMELESSNESS; SELF-REPORTED HEALTH; SEX

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Graduate Student, University of Houston, Department of Psychological, Health, & Learning Sciences, Houston, TX 2: Research Assistant, University of Houston, Department of Psychological, Health, & Learning Sciences, Houston, TX 3: Associate Professor, University of Houston, Department of Psychological, Health, & Learning Sciences, Houston, TX;, Email: [email protected] 4: Assistant Professor, University of Houston HEALTH Research Institute, Houston, TX 5: Associate Professor, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma Tobacco Research Center, Oklahoma City, OK 6: Professor, University of Houston, Department of Psychological, Health, & Learning Sciences, Houston, TX 7: Research Data Coordinator, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Department of Behavioral Sciences, Houston, TX

Publication date: January 1, 2019

More about this publication?
  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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