AA May Help Stem Alcohol Abuse in Female Convicts

Study finds that weekly meeting boosts recovery success for 'hazardous' drinkers

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WEDNESDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings at least once a week increases the likelihood that jailed women and those recently released from jail can recover from alcohol abuse, researchers have found.

The new study included 223 women at the Rhode Island Department of Corrections Adult Correctional Institute who were considered hazardous drinkers, meaning that when they drank, they consumed 12 drinks a day. The researchers ran two AA sessions, one while the women were in jail and one after their release. Follow-up was conducted after one, three and six months.

Among those who attended AA meetings at least once a week, the investigators noted that levels of alcohol-related consequences were significantly decreased. In addition, there was also an overall drop in the number of days spent drinking, according to Yael Chatav Schonbrun, a research fellow in psychiatry Brown University's Butler Hospital.

The study is published online and in the March 2011 print issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

"We hope that this study will call further attention to the needs of incarcerated women and that this research will help to arouse increased interest in addressing the needs of this underserved population," Schonbrun said in a journal news release.

Because "AA is so widely available and is a familiar resource among incarcerated women," Schonbrun noted, "finding a method to increase utilization of AA might have great utility for improving alcohol and alcohol-related outcomes for incarcerated women."

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has more about women and alcohol.

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