Social context of drinking among older adults: Relationship to alcohol and traffic risk behaviors

Alcohol use among older adults is a major public health concern given potentially negative effects to health and functioning in this population. Little is known about context in which alcohol use among older adults occurs, or how context of use is associated with risk behaviors. Invitation letters were mailed to licensed drivers 65 years and older in Maryland. A total of 825 participants completed an online survey that assessed demographic characteristics, alcohol use, social context of drinking, and driving behaviors. The analytic sample consisted of 604 older adult current drinkers (55% male). A factor analysis revealed three separate contexts of drinking: social facilitation, emotional comfort, and relaxation. Drinking in the context of social facilitation was associated with driving after drinking. Drinking in the context of emotional comfort was associated with getting drunk, driving after drinking, and running a stop sign or red light. Drinking in the context of relaxation was associated with traffic risk behaviors, including running a stop sign or red light and getting in a near crash or collision. Understanding the social context of alcohol use among older adults may be useful for targeting and attempting to modify risky alcohol use and driving behaviors.


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  • Accession Number: 01707572
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: May 28 2019 3:11PM