Gender and Sex in Alcohol Addiction (SEGA)


While more women are facing addiction issues, scientific research on (the treatment of) addiction has primarily focused on men. Therefore, we know little about the factors involved in treating addiction in women. Previous theoretical research suggests that stress plays a greater role in relapse to alcohol use in women, but there is actually little research to support this theory. Research that has been conducted to examine differences between men and women has mainly distinguished based on birth sex, but other important factors such as someone’s gender identity (whether they identify as male, female, or non-binary) or gender expression (whether they exhibit predominantly feminine, predominantly masculine, or both masculine and feminine traits) are usually not taken into account.

Previous research has also primarily focused on factors that are risks for relapse in alcohol use, but factors that may be protective (such as experiencing social support, positive life events, and good health) are often overlooked.

Research Objective

In this study, we will examine:

  • stress-related predictors for alcohol use,
  • subjective (cravings for alcohol) and physiological (heart rate) reactions to viewing images and videos of alcohol,
  • important characteristics such as addiction history, experienced stigma, treatment satisfaction, and perceived social support.

More knowledge about gender and sex differences in protective and risk factors in the treatment of addiction is crucial to ultimately provide better and more targeted treatments to men, women, and gender-diverse individuals.