Alcohol Drinking Behavior Among Elders and Consequences

  • Orathai Chaimayo Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health Office
  • Weeraporn Suthakorn Faculty of Nursing, Chiang Mai University
Keywords: Alcohol drinking, Elderly, Consequences


Alcohol drinking among elderly people is increasing. This may lead to major consequences in both individual and health care system. The aim of this study was to explore behavior and consequences of alcohol drinking among elderly people. Study samples were 359 older adults in a selected community. Data were collected using the standardized questionnaire AUDIT (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test) (2009), along with an assessment tool for behavior and impact of alcohol drinking. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. 

Study results showed that during the 1-year period of time, 67 out of 359 participants (18.7 %) were alcohol drinkers. Among these, there were males 61.2 and females 38.8 %.  General characteristics among these drinkers was following; 56.7% did not attend school, 41.8 % had completed primary school, and 44.8% had underlying diseases. The average age of the first time drinking in male and females were 26.6 and 46.5 years old. The average cost of drinking was 292.7 Bath per month. The most common type of alcoholic drink was white liquor. The frequency of alcohol consumption was more than 4 time per week in 50.7% of the drinkers.  The most reason of drinking was for health benefits, at 55.2%. There were 14.9 % of the drinkers engaged with tobacco smoking.  Drinkers for 97% purchased liquor from local grocery stores.   

The interpretation of risk level based on AUDIT indicated that 29.9%, 1.5%, and 14.9% of the drinkers were classified as risky/hazardous, high-risk/harmful, and high risk / alcohol dependence, respectively. Almost the them (97%) had no intention to quit drinking. Regarding to the information about problems related to alcohol drinking, 13.4% had acquired accidents and injuries, 16.4% was being blamed by family members, 6.0% ever had conflicts with family members, and 1.5% had ever committed physical assault their family members.  

Results of this study suggest that although the elders in this study consumed only small or moderate amount of alcohol, they are frequent drinkers and some of them are addicted.  Especially, there are consequences including health impact, safety and family related problems. These findings indicate the importance of the intervention measures to prevent and reduce excessive alcohol consumption among older people in a community. 


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