Special Issue "Sex, Gender and Substance Use"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Global Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2019.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Lorraine Greaves
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Medicine, School of Population and Public Health, the University of British Columbia, 2206 East Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z3, Canada

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

There is growing recognition of the impact of sex-related factors and gender-related factors on substance use patterns, effects, interventions and policies. Sex-related factors are biologically-based factors that influence the consumption of substances, their effects on our bodies, and on the impact of treatments and policies. Gender-related factors include the psychosocial, economic and cultural aspects that affect patterns of use, trends, access, and experiences of substance use for men, women and gender diverse individuals. This issue will focus on critical analyses of existing approaches to research and practice. It will feature comprehensive sex- and gender-based analyses, and equity-oriented, intersectional and gender transformative approaches to better understanding sex, gender and substance use.

This Special Issue invites submissions that illustrate the inclusion of sex and/or gender considerations in substance use or addiction research, including prevalence, prevention, harm reduction, treatment, practice, policy and public health. Papers on any drug; legal, illegal or prescribed, are welcome, including experimental, trials, epidemiological, policy analyses, as well as systematic, scoping and narrative reviews.

Prof. Lorraine Greaves
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Substance use
  • Addiction
  • Sex
  • Gender
  • Women’s health
  • Men’s health

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Gender Equality, Drinking Cultures and Second-Hand Harms from Alcohol in the 50 US States
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(23), 4619; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16234619 - 21 Nov 2019
Abstract
Background: Gender inequality and cultures of binge drinking may increase the risk of second-hand harms from alcohol. Methods: Using the 2014–2015 National Alcohol Survey and 2015 National Alcohol’s Harm to Others Survey (N = 7792), we examine associations of state-level gender equality measures [...] Read more.
Background: Gender inequality and cultures of binge drinking may increase the risk of second-hand harms from alcohol. Methods: Using the 2014–2015 National Alcohol Survey and 2015 National Alcohol’s Harm to Others Survey (N = 7792), we examine associations of state-level gender equality measures (contraceptive access, abortion rights, women’s economic equality) and binge drinking cultures (rates of men’s and women’s binge drinking) with individual-level indicators of second-hand harms by drinking strangers and partners/spouses. Results: In main effects models, only male binge drinking was associated with greater odds of harms from drinking strangers. There were significant interactions of gender equality with male binge drinking: High male binge drinking rates were more strongly associated with stranger-perpetrated harms in states low on contraceptive access or abortion rights compared to states high on these measures. Conversely, male binge drinking was more strongly associated with spouse/partner-perpetrated second-hand harms in states with more economic equality, compared to states lower on this measure. Conclusions: Detrimental effects of high male binge drinking rates may be modified by gender equality. Targeted interventions may reduce alcohol-related harms experienced by women in states with high rates of male binge drinking. Restrictions in access to contraception and abortion may exacerbate harms due to men’s drinking. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sex, Gender and Substance Use)
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Open AccessArticle
Multi-Dimensional Factors Associated with Illegal Substance Use Among Gay and Bisexual Men in Taiwan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(22), 4476; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16224476 - 14 Nov 2019
Abstract
Illegal substance use in sexual minorities is an important health issue worldwide. The present cross-sectional study aimed to investigate the multi-dimensional factors associated with illegal substance use among gay and bisexual men in Taiwan. This questionnaire-survey study recruited 500 gay or bisexual men [...] Read more.
Illegal substance use in sexual minorities is an important health issue worldwide. The present cross-sectional study aimed to investigate the multi-dimensional factors associated with illegal substance use among gay and bisexual men in Taiwan. This questionnaire-survey study recruited 500 gay or bisexual men aged between 20 and 25 years. Their experiences of using eight kinds of illegal substances in the preceding month were collected. Their previous experiences of homophobic bullying, satisfaction with academic performance, truancy, perceived family and peer support in childhood and adolescence, and social-demographic characteristics, were also collected. Potential factors associated with illegal substance use were identified using univariate logistic regression, and further selected into a forward stepwise logistic regression model to identify the factors most significantly related to illegal substance use. A total of 22 (4.4%) participants reported illegal substance use in the preceding month, and mean age was 22.9 ± 1.6. Forward stepwise logistic regression revealed that being victims of homophobic cyberbullying in childhood and adolescence (odds ratio (OR) = 1.26; p = 0.011), disclosure of sexual orientation at junior high school (OR = 4.67; p = 0.001), and missing classes or truancy in senior high school (OR = 2.52; p = 0.041) were significantly associated with illegal substance use in early adulthood. Multi-dimensional factors in childhood and adolescence that were significantly associated with illegal substance use in early adulthood among gay and bisexual men were identified. Besides traditional bullying, the effect of cyberbullying and school performance on illegal substance use should not be ignored. This study is limited to the cross-sectional design and possible recall bias. Mental health professionals must routinely assess these significant factors to prevent and intervene in illegal substance use among gay and bisexual men. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sex, Gender and Substance Use)
Open AccessArticle
Effect of Sex on the Association Between Nonmedical Use of Opioids and Sleep Disturbance Among Chinese Adolescents: A Cross-Sectional Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(22), 4339; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16224339 - 07 Nov 2019
Abstract
Sleep disturbance and non-medical prescription opioid use (NMPOU) are currently growing public health concerns, and sex differences may result in differential exposure to frequency of NMPOU or sleep disturbance. This study aimed to explore the association between the frequency of lifetime or past-year [...] Read more.
Sleep disturbance and non-medical prescription opioid use (NMPOU) are currently growing public health concerns, and sex differences may result in differential exposure to frequency of NMPOU or sleep disturbance. This study aimed to explore the association between the frequency of lifetime or past-year NMPOU and sleep disturbance and to evaluate whether there was any sex difference in this association among Chinese adolescents. A cross-sectional study was performed in seven randomly selected Chinese provinces through the 2015 School-Based Chinese Adolescents Health Survey. A total of 159,640 adolescents were invited to participate and among them, 148,687 adolescents’ questionnaires were completed and qualified for this study (response rate: 93.14%). All analyses were performed for boys and girls separately. There were significant sex differences in the prevalence of lifetime or past-year opioid misuse and sleep disturbance (p < 0.05). Among girls, frequent lifetime NMPOU (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 2.09, 95% CI = 1.80–2.44) and past-year NMPOU (aOR = 2.16, 95% CI = 1.68–2.77) were positively associated with sleep disturbance. Among boys, these associations were also statistically significant, while the magnitudes of associations between frequent lifetime NMPOU or past-year NMPOU and sleep disturbance were greater in girls than those in boys. There is a significant sex difference in the prevalence of lifetime or past-year NMPOU and sleep disturbance. Furthermore, exposure to more frequent lifetime or past-year NMPOU is associated with a greater risk of sleep disturbance, especially among girls. Taking into account the sex difference for lifetime or past-year NMPOU may help to decrease the risk of sleep disturbance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sex, Gender and Substance Use)
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Open AccessArticle
Multi-Service Programs for Pregnant and Parenting Women with Substance Use Concerns: Women’s Perspectives on Why They Seek Help and Their Significant Changes
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(18), 3299; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16183299 - 08 Sep 2019
Abstract
Within Canada, several specialized multi-service prevention programs work with highly vulnerable pregnant and early parenting women with substance use issues. Experiences of trauma, mental health, poverty, and other factors associated with the social determinants of health complete the picture. Program evaluations have demonstrated [...] Read more.
Within Canada, several specialized multi-service prevention programs work with highly vulnerable pregnant and early parenting women with substance use issues. Experiences of trauma, mental health, poverty, and other factors associated with the social determinants of health complete the picture. Program evaluations have demonstrated their value, but less has been said as to women’s reasons for choosing to seek help from these programs, what they were hoping to gain, or what difference they believe has occurred as a result. The Co-creating Evidence project is a multi-year (2017–2020) national evaluation of holistic programs serving women at high risk of having an infant with prenatal alcohol or substance exposure. The evaluation uses a mixed methods design involving quarterly program output and “snapshot” client data, as well as in-person, semi-structured interviews and questionnaires with clients, program staff, and program partners. This article presents findings from interviews with women regarding why they sought help, how they used the services, and what they perceived to be the most significant change in their lives as a result. Obtaining help with substance use was the top theme for what women hoped to get from their participation in their program; however, women’s reasons were often intertwined. Additional motivations included wanting information, support or assistance with: child welfare; pregnancy; housing; getting connected to health care or prenatal care; and opportunities for peer support. With respect to the most significant life change, themes included: reduced substance use; improved housing; stronger mother–child connection; and improved wellness and social connections. Findings demonstrated that vulnerable, marginalized pregnant and parenting women who are using substances will seek help when health and social care services are configured in such a way as to take into consideration and address their unique roles, responsibilities, and realities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sex, Gender and Substance Use)

Review

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Open AccessReview
Using a Developmental-Relational Approach to Understand the Impact of Interpersonal Violence in Women Who Struggle with Substance Use
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(23), 4861; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16234861 - 03 Dec 2019
Abstract
Substance use among women is a major public health concern. This review article takes a developmental-relational approach to examine processes through which early relational trauma and violence in relationships may lead to substance use. We examine how early exposure to violence in relationships [...] Read more.
Substance use among women is a major public health concern. This review article takes a developmental-relational approach to examine processes through which early relational trauma and violence in relationships may lead to substance use. We examine how early exposure to violence in relationships can impact neurological development, specifically through interference with physiological mechanisms (e.g., the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis), brain structure and functioning (e.g., the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex), and neuropsychological development (e.g., executive functioning and emotion regulation) across the lifespan. Further, we discuss the impact of exposure to violence on the development of relational capacity, including attachment, internal working models, and subsequent interpersonal relationships across the lifespan, and how these developmental pathways can lead to continued problematic substance use in women. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sex, Gender and Substance Use)
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Open AccessReview
Addressing the Impact of Interpersonal Violence in Women Who Struggle with Substance Use Through Developmental-Relational Strategies in a Community Program
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(21), 4197; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16214197 - 30 Oct 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
From a developmental–relational framework, substance use in women can be understood as relating to early experiences of violence in relationships and across development. This article uses a developmental-relational approach to outline specific strategies that can be used by service providers and to guide [...] Read more.
From a developmental–relational framework, substance use in women can be understood as relating to early experiences of violence in relationships and across development. This article uses a developmental-relational approach to outline specific strategies that can be used by service providers and to guide interventions for women with substance use issues. By reviewing research and clinical work with women attending a community-based prevention and early intervention program, we describe how specific components of programming can target the developmental and intergenerational pathway between experiences of violence in relationships and substance use. We include the voices of women who attended the program to support the strategies discussed. Specifically, these strategies address the impact of interpersonal violence on substance use by promoting the process of repair and reintegration for women whose neurological development, sense of self, and capacity to form relationships have been significantly impacted by experiences of violence in relationships. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sex, Gender and Substance Use)

Other

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Open AccessCommentary
The Presence and Consequences of Abortion Aversion in Scientific Research Related to Alcohol Use during Pregnancy
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(16), 2888; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16162888 - 13 Aug 2019
Abstract
Recent research has found that most U.S. state policies related to alcohol use during pregnancy adversely impact health. Other studies indicate that state policymaking around substance use in pregnancy—especially in the U.S.—appears to be influenced by an anti-abortion agenda rather than by public [...] Read more.
Recent research has found that most U.S. state policies related to alcohol use during pregnancy adversely impact health. Other studies indicate that state policymaking around substance use in pregnancy—especially in the U.S.—appears to be influenced by an anti-abortion agenda rather than by public health motivations. This commentary explores the ways that scientists’ aversion to abortion appear to influence science and thus policymaking around alcohol and pregnancy. The three main ways abortion aversion shows up in the literature related to alcohol use during pregnancy include: (1) a shift from the recommendation of abortion for “severely chronic alcoholic women” to the non-acknowledgment of abortion as an outcome of an alcohol-exposed pregnancy; (2) the concern that recommendations of abstinence from alcohol use during pregnancy lead to terminations of otherwise wanted pregnancies; and (3) the presumption of abortion as a negative pregnancy outcome. Thus, abortion aversion appears to influence the science related to alcohol use during pregnancy, and thus policymaking—to the detriment of developing and adopting policies that reduce the harms from alcohol during pregnancy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sex, Gender and Substance Use)
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