Alcohol abuse is not always linked to alcohol dependence in the general population, especially among minorities and women. These studies have excluded Asian and Pacific Islanders from analyses.
We examine the prevalence of alcohol dependence with and without alcohol abuse among a treatment sample in Hawaii.
Two hundred twenty-five participants were recruited from 2 major residential treatment programs in Hawaii for an 89% response rate. Participants were interviewed as soon as possible after their admission, generally within the first week. Abuse and dependence criteria were assessed with the Diagnostic Interview Schedule.
One hundred and eighteen (52%) met criteria for alcohol dependence. Among respondents with current alcohol dependence, 17% did not additionally meet criteria for abuse among clients at facilities in Hawaii. Current dependence without abuse occurred more frequently among Native Hawaiian clients (20%) and less frequently among Asian clients (11%). Although the number of women in the study was small, current dependence without abuse occurred more frequently among women (25%) compared with men (14%).
This study contributes to the current state of knowledge with regards to co-occurrence of alcohol abuse and dependence among ethnic groups in Hawaii. It will help treatment facilities develop a better understanding of the individuals seeking treatment in an effort to develop a comprehensive treatment plan that will take into account ethnic considerations. In addition, the use of alcohol abuse as a screening method for alcohol dependence in epidemiologic studies may underestimate the prevalence of dependence among Pacific Islanders, further limiting access to services for this underserved group.
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