Characterization of Service Use for Alcohol Problems Across Generations and Sex in Adults With Alcohol Use Disorder

Jessica L. Bourdon, Rebecca Tillman, Meredith W. Francis, Danielle M. Dick, Mallory Stephenson, Chella Kamarajan, Howard J. Edenberg, John Kramer, Samuel Kuperman, Kathleen K. Bucholz, Vivia V. McCutcheon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: There are gaps in the literature on service use (help-seeking and treatment utilization) for alcohol problems among those with alcohol use disorder (AUD). First, policy changes and cultural shifts (e.g., insurance) related to AUD have occurred over the last few decades, making it important to study generational differences. Second, multiple studies have found that females receive fewer services than males, and exploring whether these sex differences persist across generations can inform public health and research endeavors. The current study examined service use for alcohol problems among individuals with AUD. The aims were as follows: (i) to describe service use for alcohol problems; (ii) to assess generational differences (silent [b. 1928 to 1945], boomer [b. 1946 to 1964], generation X [b. 1965 to 1980], millennial [b. 1981 to 1996]) in help-seeking and treatment utilization; and (iii) to examine sex differences across generations. Methods: Data were from affected family members of probands who participated in the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism (N = 4,405). First, frequencies for service use variables were calculated across generations. Pearson chi-square and ANOVA were used to test for differences in rates and types of service use across generations, taking familial clustering into account. Next, Cox survival modeling was used to assess associations of generation and sex with time to first help-seeking and first treatment for AUD, and time from first onset of AUD to first help-seeking and first treatment. Interactions between generation and sex were tested within each Cox regression. Results: Significant hazards were found in all 4 transitions. Overall, younger generations used services earlier than older generations, which translated into higher likelihoods of these behaviors. Regardless of generation, younger females were less likely to use services than males. Conclusions: There are generational and sex differences in service use for alcohol problems among individuals with AUD. Policy and clinical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)746-757
Number of pages12
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020


  • Alcohol Use Disorder
  • Generation
  • Service Use
  • Sex Differences


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