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Characteristics of people who have received treatment for late-onset problem drinking and alcohol use disorder: A systematic review and narrative synthesis

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-10-02, 16:05 authored by K McInerney, D Best, A Cross
Aims: The current review investigated the psychosocial characteristics of late-onset problem drinkers, an under-researched area of alcohol harm that accounts for one-third of older problem drinkers. Method: Following the PRISMA model, the protocol and search strategy included a scoping search and main search of nine databases. A total of 1,595 papers were identified; after screening, 26 papers were considered eligible and were included in the review. The review used an investigative framework comprising three categories: standardising age of onset; gender differences; and psychosocial and mental health characteristics. The review also investigated how meaning and purpose in life, and treatment have been reported in relation to this cohort. Findings/Conclusions: The combined onset ages of the reviews’ 26 papers (mean age = 52.69 years) and the participants’ self-reported age at onset (mean age = 56.79 years), suggest that late-onset alcohol use disorder (AUD)/problem drinking is likely to emerge at the age of 55 years and older. Moreover, there is a high prevalence of co-morbid mental health disorders among elderly, late-onset drinkers. Retirement was reported as the most prevalent psychosocial risk factor for late-onset problematic drinking; other late-life events included bereavement, loneliness and social isolation, and boredom. In the context of gender, women are at greater risk of developing late-onset problem drinking than men. Furthermore, late-onset problem drinkers, particularly women, are more treatment compliant than their early-onset counterparts, highlighting the case for bespoke treatments/interventions for late-onset problem drinkers. Finally, the role that meaning and purpose in life plays in late-onset problem drinking has been under-reported and requires further investigation.

History

Author affiliation

Department of Health Sciences, University of Leicester

Version

  • VoR (Version of Record)

Published in

NAD Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs

Volume

40

Issue

2

Pagination

100 - 126

Publisher

SAGE Publications

issn

1455-0725

eissn

1458-6126

Copyright date

2022

Available date

2023-10-02

Language

en

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