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Recent literature reviews and meta-analyses have supported the effectiveness of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) in helping members stop drinking and maintain sobriety. Despite the extensive body of research on AA, less attention has focused on differences in the efficacy of the program for and experiences of women as compared to men. Such a focus is warranted given that there are significant gender differences in the development and progression of alcoholism, impact of drinking, and response to treatment. This review synthesizes results of extant research on women in AA and similar mutual aid groups focused on problem drinking to describe the state of knowledge and make suggestions for future research. Critiques of the ability of AA and 12-step programs to address women’s needs are also reviewed, as are attempts to respond to those critiques. Understudied issues, including the role of victimization histories (which are more prevalent in women who abuse alcohol), are also discussed.


This is the author’s original manuscript version of an article Women, Alcoholics Anonymous, and Related Mutual Aid Groups: Review and Recommendations for Research published by Taylor & Francis in Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly on 10/20/2012, available online:

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Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.



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