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Pain and use of alcohol in later life: prospective evidence from the health and retirement study.

Brennan PL, Soohoo S. Pain and use of alcohol in later life: prospective evidence from the health and retirement study. Journal of aging and health. 2013 Jun 1; 25(4):656-77.

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OBJECTIVE: To determine whether (a) late-life pain predicts growth in older adults' use of alcohol, and elevated risk of drinking problems; and (b) sociodemographic characteristics moderate these relationships. METHOD: Five times over an 8-year interval, N = 5,446 Health and Retirement Study (HRS) participants provided information about their pain and alcohol use. Two-part latent growth modeling and logistic regression were used to analyze these data. RESULTS: Participants with more pain at baseline had lower initial levels and a faster rate of decline over the next 8 years in alcohol consumption, but they also were at elevated risk of having drinking problems. Income and African American background interacted with pain to predict 8-year change in alcohol consumption and presence of drinking problems. DISCUSSION: Late-life pain does not predict growth in older adults' alcohol consumption, but is nonetheless linked to elevated risk of drinking problems, especially among African Americans.

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