Online Program

Addressing the hidden epidemic of older women's alcohol misuse: Communicating to women about healthy alcohol use as they age

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 9:10 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.

Susan Houghton, PhD, Research and Evaluation, Advocates for Human Potential, Inc., Sudbury, MA
Baby boomers use alcohol and other drugs at higher rates than previous cohorts and, as they age, their alcohol risk profile will increase and can be expected to be greater than previous cohorts.  This is of particular concern to the health of older women who have heightened sensitivity to the effects of alcohol misuse compared to older men.  It is important to women’s healthy aging to find ways to effectively communicate about healthy alcohol use.  This research used innovative behavioral economics methods to survey 110 women 65 and older to learn their preferences for health promotion information.  The study found that women have strong preferences for specific sources and forms of health information, and that preferences vary distinctly and systematically by health topic.  Analysis of women’s preferences for alcohol information revealed complexity in how they wish to receive information about healthy alcohol use.  Findings suggest that providing preference-sensitive alcohol risk communication to older women is highly important to promote their uptake and use of information to maintain and improve health.  Further, the results suggest specific ways to tailor health information intended for older women, particularly when aiming to promote awareness of risk, and healthy use, of alcohol.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Communication and informatics
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
List reasons why women are at increasing risk of harm from alcohol misuse as they age. Describe older women’s preferences for aspects of health promotion information. Describe how older women’s preferences for information to promote healthy alcohol use differ from their preferences for other health promotion information. Discuss implications to communicating about healthy alcohol use to women as they age.

Keyword(s): Alcohol Use, Communication

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have conducted research as principal investigator on the topic of older women’s health information preferences, with an emphasis on alcohol risk, for the past seven years. My PhD is in health services research and much of my work has focused on alcohol use and prevention. I have worked implementing alcohol screening, brief intervention and referral treatment in primary care.
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.