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A Comparison of Black and White Women Entering Alcoholism Treatment

Hortensia Amaro, Linda J. Beckman, Vickie M. Mays

Similarities and differences between Black and White women in the early stages of alcoholism treatment were investigated. Characteristics relevant to treatment and to the risk of early treatment discontinuance were examined including health-related attitudes and beliefs, personality characteristics, alcoholism history, and social and situational factors. Data were obtained through interviews with 25 Black and 67 White women who had recently entered an alcoholism treatment facility. Black women had a significantly lower income and were on average 5 years younger than White women. After controlling for income and age, discriminant function coefficients indicated that ethnic differences also existed in women’s perceptions about the role of health professionals in the maintenance of health, consequences of drinking, social isolation, self-esteem, access to alcoholism insurance, contact with important others and degree of opposition to treatment from others. Implications of the results for treatment continuance and service delivery are discussed.