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Alcohol, Driving, and Health among Community-dwelling Older Adults

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Objective: The purpose of this investigation was to examine the relationships among alcohol use, driving behavior, and indicators of health among older adults. Methods: A sample of 818 adults ages 65 and older were recruited through the state motor vehicle administration and completed an online survey. Regression models were used to assess the associations between alcohol use, driving behaviors, and 6 health indicators. Results: Whereas more frequent alcohol use was associated with fewer health conditions, higher quantity alcohol use was associated with increased likelihood of having at least one health condition. Participants who drove several days a week and those who drove every day had higher perceived health status, a lower number of past-year health conditions, and a lower number of past-year health events when compared to less frequent drivers. Persons who had at least one past-year negative driving behavior or event were significantly less likely to have positive health status, had lower perceived health status, and had a higher number of past-year health conditions and events. Conclusions: High quantity alcohol use and risky driving behavior among older adults are indicative of poorer health. Continued efforts are needed to educate older adults on the relationships among alcohol use, driving behavior, and health.
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Keywords: AGING; ALCOHOL AND HEALTH; ALCOHOL USE; DRINKING AND DRIVING; DRIVING; PERCEIVED HEALTH STATUS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2019

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  • Health Behavior and Policy Review is a rigorously peer-reviewed scholarly bi-monthly publication that seeks manuscripts on health behavior or policy topics that represent original research, including papers that examine the development, advocacy, implementation, or evaluation of policies around specific health issues. The Review especially welcomes papers that tie together health behavior and policy recommendations. Articles are available through subscription or can be ordered individually from the Health Behavior and Policy Review site.
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