Alcohol use among older adults in the national epidemiologic survey on alcohol and related conditions: A latent class analysis

Paul Sacco, Kathleen K. Bucholz, Edward L. Spitznagel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

82 Scopus citations

Abstract

We examined latent classes of alcohol use among current drinkers ages 60 and older and explored risk factors associated with class. Method: We used a subsample of older current drinkers (≥60 years; n = 4, 646) from the National E pidemiologic S urvey on A lcohol and Related C onditions. E mploying alcohol consumption and diagnostic indicators, latent class analysis was used to identify classes. We analyzed the associations between class membership and sociodemographic, psychiatric, health, and mental health variables using multinomial and linear regression. Results: L atent class analysis identified three latent classes. I ndividuals in the low-risk drinker class (89.17%) displayed low endorsement of heavy episodic use, at-risk consumption, and alcohol abuse/dependence criteria. I ndividuals in the moderaterisk drinker class (9.65%) were more likely to exceed consumption guidelines, and those in the high-risk drinker class (1.17%) displayed high probabilities of both Diagnostic and S tatistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth E dition (DSM-IV), criteria and risky alcohol consumption items. Female gender, older age, and A frican-American race were associated with decreased risk of being a moderate-risk drinker. Being the adult child of an alcoholic, being a previous smoker, and being a current smoker were associated with increased risk. Female gender, older age, and college education were associated with decreased odds of being a high-risk drinker. Having major depression, being the child of an alcoholic, and being a current smoker were associated with increased odds of being a high-risk drinker. I ndividuals classified in the high-risk drinker class had significantly lower self-rated mental and physical health than low-risk drinkers. Conclusions: A subpopulation of older drinkers may exceed consumption guidelines without DSM-defined alcohol-related problems. H owever, for some older drinkers, risky alcohol use is part of a larger pattern of health risks including current smoking, major depression, and alcohol abuse/dependence history.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)829-838
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs
Volume70
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2009

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