The longitudinal patterns of alcohol use in older New Zealanders

26 Sep 2018

Massey University and the University of Auckland were funded through HPA’s Research Investments for Priorities in Alcohol (RIPA) to look at the role of alcohol in older people’s lives, patterns of alcohol use, and how the drinking patterns of older New Zealanders compare with other countries. They did this using 10 years of longitudinal data from the New Zealand Health, Work and Retirement Longitudinal Study (NZHWR).

In this report, distinct groups of older adults were identified based on their drinking patterns, and then investigated to see whether they could be differentiated based on their sociodemographic and health characteristics.

Five drinking profiles for older adults were found, with 13% of older adults having alcohol consumption patterns that posed a serious and immediate risk to their health (ie drank with moderate or high frequency and consumed many drinks on each occasion). It was also found that older adults were likely to drink with higher frequency if they were male; at the younger stage of older adulthood (around 60-70 years); have a moderate to high level of education; and have a higher economic living standard.