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Effect of retirement on drinking trajectories of older adults

Brennan P, Schutte K, Moos R. Effect of retirement on drinking trajectories of older adults. Poster session presented at: American Psychological Association Annual Convention; 2007 Aug 17; San Francisco, CA.

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Abstract:

This study focused on the effect of retirement as a discrete life event, and as an ongoing life status, on the 10-year trajectories of older adults’ alcohol consumption. We asked three questions: (1) Compared to non-retired, matched controls, do individuals who experience a recent retirement event report elevated amounts and frequency of alcohol consumption? (2) Do 10-year drinking trajectories of retired individuals differ significantly from those of individuals who remain consistently employed? (3) Relative to other factors thought to influence late-life alcohol consumption, how well does retirement status per se predict levels and rates of change in amount and frequency of alcohol consumption? Participants were community residents, age 55-65 at baseline, who took part in a 10-year longitudinal study of older adults' drinking behavior and health. Paired-sample t-tests on three sets of case-control pairs (n = 79 pairs at baseline, n = 79 pairs at 1 year, and n = 83 pairs at 4 years) showed no difference between recent retirees and case controls in frequency and amount of alcohol consumed during the last 12 months or during the subsequent study interval. Multilevel regression analyses showed that older individuals’ frequency and amount of alcohol consumption, assessed over a 10-year interval, declined slightly more steeply among retired than among working participants. Increase in health problems over the 10-year study interval did not account for this difference. History of drinking problems, ongoing drinking problems, and more socializing, especially with friends who approve of drinking, appear to be more salient influences on late-life drinking patterns than is retirement status. The findings add to accumulating evidence that the late-life retirement event does not “jolt” older individuals into novel patterns of alcohol use and that, over the longer-term, other factors overshadow retirement as significant predictors of older adults' drinking trajectories.





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