Drinking Level, Drinking Pattern, and Twenty-Year Total Mortality Among Late-Life Drinkers

OBJECTIVE: Research on moderate drinking has focused on the average level of drinking. Recently, however, investigators have begun to consider the role of the pattern of drinking, particularly heavy episodic drinking, in mortality. The present study examined the combined roles of average drinking level (moderate vs. high) and drinking pattern (regular vs. heavy episodic) in 20-year total mortality among late-life drinkers.

METHOD: The sample comprised 1,121 adults ages 55-65 years. Alcohol consumption was assessed at baseline, and total mortality was indexed across 20 years. We used multiple logistic regression analyses controlling for a broad set of sociodemographic, behavioral, and health status covariates.

RESULTS: Among individuals whose high level of drinking placed them at risk, a heavy episodic drinking pattern did not increase mortality odds compared with a regular drinking pattern. Conversely, among individuals who engage in a moderate level of drinking, prior findings showed that a heavy episodic drinking pattern did increase mortality risk compared with a regular drinking pattern. Correspondingly, a high compared with a moderate drinking level increased mortality risk among individuals maintaining a regular drinking pattern, but not among individuals engaging in a heavy episodic drinking pattern, whose pattern of consumption had already placed them at risk.

CONCLUSIONS: Findings highlight that low-risk drinking requires that older adults drink low to moderate average levels of alcohol and avoid heavy episodic drinking. Heavy episodic drinking is frequent among late-middle-aged and older adults and needs to be addressed along with average consumption in understanding the health risks of late-life drinkers.

Additional Info

  • Authors:

    Holahan,C.J.; Schutte,K.K.; Brennan,P.L.; Holahan,C.K.; Moos,R.H.

  • Issue: J Stud.Alcohol Drugs / pages 552-558 / volume 76
  • Published Date: 2015/7
  • More Information:

    For more information about this abstract, please contact
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. at the Deutsche Weinakademie GmbH

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