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Just one more: An examination of the prevalence, correlates, and consequences of concurrent alcohol and medication use in older adults

Smith, Mary Lindsey (2010) Just one more: An examination of the prevalence, correlates, and consequences of concurrent alcohol and medication use in older adults. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Research suggests that the concurrent use of alcohol and medications can lead to a number of health problems. This is of importance for older adults, who take more medication than any other age group. Despite older adults' increased risk of alcohol-medication interaction there has been limited research focused on the patterns and correlates of simultaneous alcohol and medication use in older adults. The purpose of this study was to examine the prevalence and patterns of concurrent use among community-dwelling older adults by gender, race and age. The impact of group membership on health status was also examined.Data from the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS), a population-based longitudinal study of older adults, were analyzed for this study. The CHS cohort consists of 5,888 individuals ages 65 and older. Participants completed a series of face-to-face and telephone interviews along with clinical examinations. This analysis utilizes CHS data from waves 1 through 6. Univariate analyses were conducted at baseline to determine the prevalence rates and correlates of concomitant use among older adults. Group-based logit modeling was used to chart longitudinal patterns of use over the course of the study. Finally, multinomial logistic regression analyses were employed to assess the relationship between various patterns of concurrent use and health outcomes.Results demonstrated that concurrent use is fairly common among community-dwelling older adults. Men, Whites, younger individuals and problem drinkers were significantly more likely to concurrently use than women, African Americans, older respondents and low to moderate alcohol users. Furthermore, group-based logic analysis revealed four distinct patterns of concurrent use: a no to low use group, a decreasing use group, an increasing use group, and a high use group. Males and Whites had the highest probability of being in the high use group. Group membership was found to be related to physical and mental health. Furthermore, concurrent use was found to increase the risk of mortality among study participants.These findings indicate a significant need for social work and health care professionals to educate older adults about the dangers of concurrent alcohol-medication use. Additionally, it appears that there is a need for health campaigns that focus on the promotion of safer use of alcohol and medications by older adults.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Smith, Mary
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairRosen, Danieldar15@pitt.eduDAR15
Committee MemberEngel, Rafaelrengel@pitt.eduRENGEL
Committee MemberSchulz, RichardRSchulz@ucsur.pitt.eduSCHULZ
Committee MemberGoodkind, Sarasag51@pitt.eduSAG51
Date: 11 January 2010
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 7 December 2009
Approval Date: 11 January 2010
Submission Date: 10 January 2010
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Social Work > Social Work
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Alcohol; Concurrent Use; Medications; Healthy Aging; Older Adults
Other ID:, etd-01102010-174240
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:31
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:36


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