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Binge drinking frequent among adults aged 50 years and older

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What is the prevalence of, and correlates for, at-risk alcohol use and binge drinking among adults aged 50 years and older?


10,953 adults (46% men, 54% women) aged 50 years and older. Approximately 40% were aged more than 65 years.


National Survey on Drug Use and Health; data taken from surveys performed in 2005 and 2006.


The sampling frame of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health covers roughly 98% of the US population aged 12 years or older. Multistage methods are used to collect a representative sample of household residents, civilians residing on military bases and residents of shelters, college dormitories, rooming houses, migratory workers camps and halfway houses. People excluded from the sample include those in institutions (eg, prisons, hospitals, nursing homes) and homeless people not living in shelters. Respondents were interviewed privately at their residence; 68,308 respondents (76%) completed the survey in 2005 and 67,802 (74%) in 2006. Survey results from 2005 and 2006 were combined to increase power. Social and demographic variables examined included age, sex, race, educational levels, marital status, employment status and annual income. Psychological distress was measured using the K-6 screening scale questions. Alcohol use …

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  • Sources of funding Research grants from the US National Institute on Drug Abuse of the NIH and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Data Archive and Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research provided public use data files for the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, sponsored by the Office of Applied Studies of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.


  • Competing interests None.

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