The importance of gender-specific substance use treatment programs is widely recognized within the young adult recovery community. Young women, certainly, stand to benefit from a program that is centered around their unique requirements in early recovery. Now, research has been conducted revealing that women receiving treatment in gender-specific programs are more likely to be employed 12 months after treatment enrollment than those in non-gender-specific treatment programs.
The research, which was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), also found a greater likelihood of women who completed treatment being employed than those who did not complete treatment. The study involved the analysis of data from 5,109 women admitted to 13 mixed-gender intensive inpatient programs in Washington State. The importance of this research is due to the barriers to employment that have been reported for women with substance use disorders. Furthermore, employment can help to protect against relapse.
The study abstract stated that employment problems were common among low-income, substance-using women. The research linked an empirically developed quantitative measure of substance use treatment to employment outcomes among the aforementioned group of substance-using women. The relationship between gender-specific treatment and subsequent employment was tested through the use of hierarchical linear models.
Meanwhile, the preexisting differences among women were controlled for through the use of propensity scores and receipt of public assistance. The study also used men’s employment outcomes to control for potential confounding at the program level. It was subsequently discovered by the study that women treated in gender-specific programs were more likely to be employed 12 months following their enrollment for treatment, albeit not for the hypothesized 24 months.
Nor was the relationship between gender-specific treatment and employment affected by treatment completion. The researchers concluded that the findings pointed to recent progress in the tailoring of generic substance use treatment to the requirements of women. The results of the study certainly signal the hugely positive role that can be played by individualized women trauma recovery programs that are clinically centered around such needs as co-occurring disorders, trauma, depression, anxiety, family relationships, body image, self-esteem, identity issues, and other issues.