2. Older adults and alcohol use: negative affect, resilience, and alcohol use as interacting factors

Wednesday, 23 November, 2022 - 16:50 to 18:20


The adverse consequences of alcohol use in older adults are widespread. Higher levels of alcohol use increase the odds for diseases, injuries and even death, limitations in instrumental activities of daily living and development of affective and anxiety symptoms. In the present study, we examine if resilience factors moderate the association between negative affect (symptoms of depression and anxiety) and hazardous alcohol use.

This is a retrospective cross-sectional study. The sample population, enrolled from October 2013 to April 2016, consisted of 1,368 community-dwelling older adults living in the Flemish part of Belgium. We used standardized questionnaires to collect self-reported data on alcohol use behaviour, depression and anxiety and resilience (adaptability, self-efficacy and spirituality) by using, respectively, the Alcohol Use Identification Test (AUDIT), the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI) and the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC).

Of the total sample, 80.1% reported using alcohol. A multiple regression model was tested to examine whether the association between negative affect (depression and anxiety) and hazardous drinking depends on the level of resilience factors (adaptability, self-efficacy and spirituality). Results indicate that as levels of adaptability, self-efficacy or spirituality increase, the association between depression/anxiety and hazardous drinking lost its significance.>

High levels of adaptability, self-efficacy and spirituality moderated the association between negative affect and hazardous drinking. Programs to reduce hazardous drinking in older adults should target resilience and more specifically characteristics like self-efficacy, adaptability and spirituality. Personalized resilience interventions, rather than using a one-size-fits-all approach, may result in better outcomes in older adults.




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