The association between DSM‐III‐R alcohol dependence, psychological distress and drug use

R. Caetano, C. Weisner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

46 Scopus citations


This paper examines the association between DSM‐III‐R alcohol dependence, psychological distress and the frequency of drug use in a sample of 219 men and 162 women consecutively admitted to nine alcohol treatment programs in a Northern California county. Results show that psychological distress is higher among men who are more severely dependent on alcohol and among those who have lower education; women who are less alcohol dependent and women who are younger have higher scores in psychological distress than other women. With regard to drug use, about 65% of the men and 64% of the women report using a drug other than alcohol at least once a week during the 12 months prior to admission into treatment. Among both men and women, the drugs most frequently used are crack/cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine. Among men, regression analysis shows that drug use is associated with being younger. Among women results show that the predictors of drug use are being younger, being unemployed, having a higher income, being a heavier drinker and having fewer symptoms of alcohol dependence. These results show a complex pattern of association across alcohol dependence, drug use and psychological distress. Knowledge of this pattern is necessary for tailoring effective clinical interventions to clients with different kinds of comorbidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)351-359
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1995


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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