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Older adults' health and changes in late-life drinking patterns.

Moos RH, Brennan PL, Schutte KK, Moos BS. Older adults' health and changes in late-life drinking patterns. Aging & mental health. 2005 Jan 1; 9(1):49-59.

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This study focused on the prospective associations between older adults' health-related problems and their late-life alcohol consumption and drinking problems. A sample of 1,291 late-middle-aged community residents (55-65 years old at baseline) participated in a survey of health and alcohol consumption, and was followed one year, four years, and 10 years later. Health-related problems increased and alcohol consumption and drinking problems declined over the 10-year interval. Medical conditions, physical symptoms, medication use, and acute health events predicted a higher likelihood of abstinence and less frequent and lower alcohol consumption. However, overall health burden predicted more subsequent drinking problems, even after controlling for alcohol consumption and a history of heavy drinking and increased drinking in response to stressors. Among older adults, increased health problems predict reduced alcohol consumption but more drinking problems. Older adults with several health problems who consume more alcohol are at elevated risk for drinking problems and should be targeted for brief interventions to help them curtail their drinking.

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