Are there differences between men and women in terms of risk consumption of alcohol, cannabis and hypnosedatives? A study, published in the journal Gaceta Sanitaria by the Public Health Agency of Barcelona in collaboration with the Institute of Health Carlos III, analyzed data from participants of the last Household Survey on Alcohol and Drugs in Spain who were between 25 and 64 years old, the results show different patterns of behavior between genders.
The study concluded that 6.7% of the 7,942 men interviewed for this study had a risky alcohol. For the group of women (6,171), the figure is halved to 3.5%. Recurrent cannabis use is almost four times higher in men than in women (3.7% vs 0.9%), whereas in the case of hypnosedatives the situation is reversed and it is women who consume almost double than men (15% women vs 7.6% men).
The authors of this paper also analyzed whether these gender differences remain when considering other factors, such as educational level and employment status of the participants. The researchers found that the lower the level of education, the greater the gender differences observed in the use of these substances.
In the case of alcohol, men who only have primary studies showed a risk of consumption up to four times higher than women with the same educational level (9.3% vs. 2.2%). In the case of men university studies, risk of alcohol consumption is reduced to 4.1%. On the other hand, in women, educational level does not seem to be a factor.
Something similar happens with the consumption of cannabis. Less educated men consume nearly three times more than those with higher education (3.9% vs. 1.5%); while in women, the prevalence is around 1% in the three educational levels. However, unlike what happens with alcohol consumption, employment status does influence cannabis use. Both unemployed men and women consume more this substance than people who have jobs (6.2% compared with 2.4% of men, 1.5% compared with 0.6% of women).
Finally, hypnosedatives consumption, more common in women than in men, is also related differently in both sexes depending on their educational level and employment status.
The use of tranquilizers, sedatives or sleeping pills is more common in women with a lower level of education (21% of women with primary education compared to 11% of university), whereas in the case of men, those with higher education are the ones who more frequently consume these substances (7.4% of men with university studies versus 6.3% of men with primary education). Additionally, unemployed men and women have more chance of hypnosedatives consumption.