BACKGROUND/AIMS: Alcohol-related problems are relevant in the elderly, particularly in developed countries, but there is a lack of cross-country comparisons. The present work aims to examine the frequency and patterns of alcohol consumption in older adults across different European countries, and to analyze the relationship between socioeconomic status and gender with alcohol consumption.
METHODS: General population-based household surveys of randomly selected adults over 60 years of age in 14 European countries.
PARTICIPANTS: 10,119 subjects [mean age: 70.4 (SD = 7.1)], 61.9% women.
RESULTS: There are marked differences in alcohol consumption across countries. Except for three countries from eastern regions, most people in all countries present moderate consumption regarding the amount of alcohol and pattern of use. However, there are marked gender differences, with a higher intake in men (effect sizes ranging from 0.57 to 1.27), although these differences are relatively proportional across countries. Finally, a higher socioeconomic status is positively related (B = 0.845, 95% CI: 0.30/1.40) with alcohol consumption after controlling for gender, age, health-functioning status and the country's development level.
CONCLUSIONS: There are marked differences in consumption of alcohol in the elderly between the different countries, and male gender, as well as a higher SES, were associated with higher alcohol consumption.