ERIC Number: ED302804
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1988-May
Reference Count: N/A
Prevalence of Alcohol Abuse among the Elderly.
Woodward, Paul S.
The current prevailing professional opinion is that the prevalence rates of alcohol abuse among the elderly are low compared to the general population. The prevalence of alcohol abuse among the elderly was examined through a review of the empirical research. This review revealed a number of serious methodological problems. The most important of these was the implicit assumption that older and younger subjects can be compared unequivocally on measures of alcohol abuse. The result is a systematic underestimation of the prevalence of elder alcohol abuse. The studies include a variety of samples from among the elderly non-patient, outpatient, and inpatient populations across the United States (and one non-American study.) Prevalence rates ranged from 0-44 percent. Most of the studies of non-patient samples produced rates at or below 12 percent; for outpatient samples in the mid-teen percentages; and for psychiatric inpatients over 20 percent. There are many developmental changes throughout the aging process that either hide or imitate the symptoms of alcohol abuse. In light of the methodological problems, alcohol abuse is likely a significant problem among the aged. Reliable estimates of the prevalence of this problem are not available. (Author/ABL)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Dissertations/Theses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Doctoral research paper, Biola University.