Gender differences in barriers to alcohol and other drug treatment in Cape Town, South Africa

  • B Myers
  • J Louw
  • S Pasche
Keywords: Health care quality, Access and evaluation, Gender, Substance abuse treatment centres, South Africa


Objective: The study aimed to identify gender differences in barriers to alcohol and other drug (AOD) treatment use among disadvantaged communities in Cape Town, South Africa. The Behavioral Model of Health Services Utilization was used as an analytic framework. Method: A case-control design was used to compare 434 individuals with AOD problems from disadvantaged communities who had accessed treatment with 555 controls who had not accessed treatment on a range of variables. Logistic regression procedures were employed to examine the unique profile of variables associated with treatment utilization for male and female participants. Results: Few gender differences emerged in terms of the pattern of variables associated with AOD treatment use. Greater awareness of treatment options and fewer geographic access and affordability barriers were strongly associated with an increased likelihood of AOD treatment use for both men and women from disadvantaged communities. However, while similar types of barriers to treatment were reported by men and women, these barriers had a greater impact on treatment utilization for women compared to men. Conclusion: Compared to men, women from disadvantaged communities in South Africa do not have equal access to AOD treatment. Recommendations on how to reduce these barriers and ways to improve AOD treatment use among women from disadvantaged communities in South Africa are provided.

Keywords: Health care quality; Access and evaluation; Gender; Substance abuse treatment centres; South Africa


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1994-8220