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Socioeconomic determinants of risk of harmful alcohol drinking among people aged 50 or over in England
  1. José Iparraguirre
  1. Research Department, Age UK, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor José Iparraguirre; jose.iparraguirre{at}ageuk.org.uk

Abstract

Objectives This paper looks into the socioeconomic determinants of risk of harmful alcohol drinking and of the transitions between risk categories over time among the population aged 50 or over in England.

Setting Community-dwellers across England.

Participants Respondents to the English Longitudinal Survey of Ageing, waves 4 and 5.

Results (Confidence level at 95% or higher, except when stated):

▸ Higher risk drinking falls with age and there is a non-linear association between age and risk for men, peaking in their mid-60s.

▸ Retirement and income are positively associated with a higher risk for women but not for men.

▸ Education and smoking are positively associated for both sexes.

▸ Loneliness and depression are not associated.

▸ Caring responsibilities reduce risk among women.

▸ Single, separated or divorced men show a greater risk of harmful drinking (at 10% confidence level).

▸ For women, being younger and having a higher income at baseline increase the probability of becoming a higher risk alcohol drinker over time.

▸ For men, not eating healthily, being younger and having a higher income increase the probability of becoming a higher risk alcohol drinker. Furthermore, the presence of children living in the household, being lonely, being older and having a lower income are associated with ceasing to be a higher risk alcohol drinker over time.

Conclusions Several socioeconomic factors found to be associated with high-risk alcohol consumption behaviour among older people would align with those promoted by the ‘successful ageing’ policy framework.

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