"There are probably several reasons for a preponderance of research on the sons of alcoholics," said Aruna Gogineni, assistant professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "For example, men have higher rates of alcohol dependence than women, and researchers who are interested in two-generation alcohol dependence therefore tend to focus on male offspring. There also is a general bias towards studying men more than women in other disorders, such as cardiovascular disease, and this may play a role. A third possibility is that studies that originate in Veterans' Affairs hospitals will have more access to males. Finally, there may also be more of a bias because studying women is more complicated; there is a need to account for factors such as menstrual cycles and pregnancy status."
Some of the symposium's key proceedings were:
- Certain predictors appear to be shared by men and women: a history of externalizing symptoms (such as conduct disorder and oppositional defiant disorder) and looking older as an adolescent. Affiliation with a religion that forbids alcohol appears to serve as a protective factor for both genders. Conversely, severe physical punishment was a predictor of several outcomes for women, but not for men.
"It is possible that severe physical punishment may include some instances of sexual abuse of women," said Gogineni. "It is possible that the punishment itself is not responsible fo