Gender effects and alcohol use in panic disorder with agoraphobia
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Previous studies have found some significant, but weak, gender differences in panic and agoraphobia with females generally being more symptomatic. The present study sought to expand this line of research by examining alcohol use and self-medication in relation to gender differences and measures of psychopathology. Seventy-four male and 162 female patients with panic disorder with agoraphobia were compared. There were some significant, but relatively small, gender differences with females reporting higher levels of phobic avoidance. Males reported significantly more weekly alcohol intake and also perceived alcohol to be a more effective strategy in coping with anxiety. Alcohol-related factors were significantly correlated with several measures of psychopathology for males but this was less evident in females. The correlations were not large but the results do suggest that a subset of males consume moderate to large amounts of alcohol, believe self-medication to be an effective anti-anxiety strategy, and yet report higher levels of psychopathology such as social fears.
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