Prevalence and predictors of alcohol consumption among older Australians

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


    Introduction and Aims: In recent years demographic shifts have resulted in unprecedented changes in the number of older Australians. This has been accompanied by concomitant changes in their patterns of alcohol use. Despite these changes, research and intervention efforts continue to focus primarily on younger age groups. This paper examines patterns, predictors and implications of risky alcohol consumption among older Australians over the past decade. Design and Methods: Secondary analyses were conducted on large nationally representative datasets (National Drug Strategy Household Survey) from five time points (2004, 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016). Frequency analyses examined the prevalence of risky drinking in three age groups (50‐59, 60‐69, 70+ years). Logistic regression explored the predictors of risky drinking. Results: The proportion of Australians who drank at risky and/or high risk levels increased significantly (P <0.05) over time in all age groups. Predictors of risky consumption varied by age group and included being a smoker, younger, married, reporting high levels of psychological distress and poor health, and living in a rural area or alone. Discussions and Conclusions: In contrast to younger age groups where risky alcohol use has declined, use among older Australians is significantly increasing. Despite this, the issue of risky consumption among older people has been largely overlooked. Reducing alcohol‐related harm among older age groups will improve health outcomes and reduce healthcare costs. Implications for Practice or Policy: These major changes in the prevalence of alcohol consumption among older people have important implications for health care providers, policy makers and carers. Tailored strategies to identify indicators of problematic consumption among their older clients, and provide sensitive age‐appropriate responses, will be outlined.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationDrug and Alcohol review
    Number of pages1
    Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2019
    EventAustralasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs 2019 - Hobart, Australia
    Duration: 10 Nov 201913 Nov 2019


    ConferenceAustralasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs 2019
    Abbreviated titleAPSAD 2019
    Internet address


    • older Australians
    • alcohol


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