259479 Trends in heavier episodic drinking and alcohol-related problems among older adults from 1995-2010: The National Alcohol Surveys

Monday, October 29, 2012 : 8:50 AM - 9:10 AM

Lorraine T. Midanik, PhD , Social Welfare, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Yu Ye, MA , Alcohol Research Group, Public Health Institute, Emeryville, CA
William C. Kerr, PhD , Alcohol Research Group, Public Health Institute, Emeryville, CA
Thomas K. Greenfield, PhD , Alcohol Research Group, Public Health Institute, Emeryville, CA
Background: As the older population increases rapidly, alcohol use may become more problematic within this cohort. The purpose of this study is to assess trends in heavier episodic drinking and alcohol-related problems among two groups of older adults (60-69 years, 70 years and older). Methods: The data are from four NIAAA-funded National Alcohol Surveys conducted by the Alcohol Research Group from 1995-2010. Trend analyses were performed on reports of past-year drunkenness and consuming 5 or more drinks, one or more alcohol-related social consequence, and one or more alcohol dependence symptom for each of the older adult groups and by gender. Results: The findings indicate that for both age and gender groups, there was a significant upward trend in reports of drunkenness. This increase was higher for 60-69 year old men where the percentages increased from 10 to 17 percent. The trend for older adults reporting 5 or more drinks in the past year was significant only for men 60-69 years old. A significant upward trend in reports of one or more social consequences was found for older men only in both age groups, while reports of one or more dependence symptoms increased for older women only in both age groups. Conclusion: Older adults are often ignored in surveys of alcohol use because most of the alcohol consumed and subsequent alcohol-related problems are attributed to younger cohorts. These results underscore the importance of looking more closely at older adults in terms of prevention and treatment.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Define trends in older people's heavy episodic drinking; Compare the heavy drinking and problem drinking of those aged 60-69 and 70 or more; Explain the importance for prevention of documenting drinking behaviors of older men and women

Keywords: Aging, Alcohol Problems

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked in the alcohol epidemiology field for many decades, contributing to the literature on alcohol use patterns and alcohol related dependence and consequences; I have taught university courses in alcohol and substance use policy and worked as a consultant to CDC, RWJF and WHO.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.