A Female-Specific Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Group for Alcohol Use Disorder in VA Primary Care Settings
Funded by: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
Project dates: February 2021 - January 2026
Principal Investigator: Sherman, Scott
Principal Investigator: Epstein E (Contact PI)
Principal Investigator: Smelson D

Women comprise 10% of the U.S. Veteran population; 37% of female Veterans report risky or problem alcohol use, and many have complex comorbidity requiring specialized treatment but only 2% of women Veterans receive treatment in VA substance use disorder (SUD) clinics. There is currently no evidence-based, Veteran-centric, female segregated treatment with female-specific programming for alcohol use disorder or SUD at the VA. The vast majority of women at the VA are limited to gender-neutral treatments for AUD in specialty SUD clinics, which is a mixed gender setting and is unappealing to women Veterans.

This project will adapt a civilian female cognitive behavioral therapy group for treatment of AUD and compare it to usual care.

In a 12-session weekly group cognitive behavioral treatment, the adapted version will provide:

  1. Alcohol use disorder intervention;
  2. General female specific content;
  3. Female-Veteran content;
  4. Wellness and self-care; and
  5. A novel 24/7 social support for abstinence discussion mobile app.

The long-term objective is to produce an “off the shelf” treatment to fill a gap in evidence-based, accessible, patient-centered AUD treatment for women Veterans.

Abstract on NIH RePORTER