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Epstein EE, McCrady BS, Hallgren KA, Gaba A, Cook S, Jensen N, Hildebrandt T, Holzhauer CG, Litt MD. J. Subst. Abuse Treat. 2018; 88: 27-43.


University of Connecticut Health Center, Division of Behavioral Sciences and Community Health, 263 Farmington Avenue, MC 3910, Farmington, CT 06030-3910, United States. Electronic address:


(Copyright © 2018, Elsevier Publishing)






OBJECTIVES: To test group-based Female-Specific Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (G-FS-CBT) for women with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) against an individual Female-Specific Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (I-FS-CBT). This aims of this paper are to describe G-FS-CBT development, content, feasibility, acceptability, group process, engagement in treatment, and within- and post-treatment outcomes.

METHODS: Women with AUD (n=155) were randomly assigned to 12 manual-guided sessions of G-FS-CBT or I-FS-CBT; 138 women attended at least one treatment session.

RESULTS: Women in G-FS-CBT attended fewer sessions (M=7.6) than women in I-FS-CBT (M=9.7; p<.001). Women in both conditions reported high satisfaction with the treatments. Independent coders rated high fidelity of delivery of both G-FS-CBT and I-FS-CBT. Therapeutic alliance with the therapist was high in both conditions, with I-FS-CBT being slightly but significantly higher than G-FS-CBT. In the first six weeks of treatment, women in both treatment conditions significantly reduced their percent drinking days (PDD) and percent heavy days drinking (PHD) by equivalent amounts, maintained through the rest of treatment and the 12month follow up with no treatment condition effects. Women reported significant improvement in all but one of the secondary outcomes during treatment; gains made during treatment in depression, anxiety, autonomy, and interpersonal problems were maintained during the follow-up period, while gains made during treatment in use of coping skills, self-efficacy for abstinence, self-care, and sociotropy deteriorated over follow up but remained improved compared to baseline.

CONCLUSIONS: Findings support the feasibility, acceptability, and efficacy of a group format for female-specific CBT for AUD, a new 12-session, single gender, community friendly, group therapy with programming specifically for women. Similar, positive outcomes for individual and group treatment formats were found for drinking, mood, coping skills, self-confidence, interpersonal functioning, and self-care.

Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier Inc.

Language: en


Alcohol use disorder; Cognitive behavior therapy; Female specific therapy; Group therapy; Women


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