Gender differences in drug use : a mixed-methods research in China

Streaming Media


Department of Sociology and Social Policy, Lingnan University

Event Title

Sociology Seminar Series 2023-2024

Document Type

Public Seminar




3:30 p.m. -- 5:00 p.m.


Globally, approximately 36.3 million people aged 15-64 suffer from drug addiction (UNODC, 2021). In recent years, the number of drug users in China has shown an overall downward trend, but the proportion of women among drug users has shown an upward trend.

The data were collected from four provinces of China in 2017-2018. Adopting a mixed-method approach, this study included 1,027 questionnaires and 56 in-depth interviews conducted among drug users. The research participants were cither detained in compulsory detoxification institutions or undergoing drug treatment in communities during the research.

The results of quantitative analysis showed that gender could moderate the correlation between research participants’ attitudes toward drug use and their actual frequency of drug use. The results of qualitative analysis further revealed gender differences in drug use motivation and the mental or behavioral consequences of drug use between men and women. This study suggests that drug education and drug treatment programs should be targeting different gender groups.



Additional Information

Speaker Biography

Dr. Zhang is an Assistant Professor at Aalborg University, Denmark. Her research areas encompass crime and deviance, health, gender studies, and China studies. She obtained her PhD in Sociology from The Chinese University of Hong Kong, where she developed an integrative theoretical framework incorporating self-control, social control, social learning, and normalization theories to explain respondents’ drug use patterns in China through quantitative and qualitative methods. Her current research is exploring the gendered mechanisms in drug treatment and rehabilitation process among users in Hong Kong, China, and Canada. Dr. Zhang had made significant contributions to the field of substance use, with her research being published in esteemed international journals, including Crime & Delinquency, Drug and Alcohol Review, Substance Use & Misuse.

Recommended Citation

Zhang, S. Y. (2023, October 27). Gender differences in drug use: A mixed-methods research in China [Video podcast]. Retrieved from https://commons.ln.edu.hk/videos/967/