Remission of Late-Life Drinking Problems: A 4- Year Follow-up

Authors

  • Kathleen K. Schutte,

    Corresponding author
    1. Center for Health Care Evaluation, Department of Veterans Affairs and Stanford University Medical Centers, Palo Alto, California.
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  • Penny L. Brennan,

    1. Center for Health Care Evaluation, Department of Veterans Affairs and Stanford University Medical Centers, Palo Alto, California.
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  • Rudolf H. Moos

    1. Center for Health Care Evaluation, Department of Veterans Affairs and Stanford University Medical Centers, Palo Alto, California.
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  • This work was supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Grants AA06699 and AA02863, and by the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical and Health Services Research and Development Service research funds.

Reprint requests: Kathleen Schutte, Ph.D., Center for Health Care Evaluation (152), Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Palo Alto, CA 94304.

Abstract

This 4-year follow-up study compared stably remitted late-life problem drinkers to nonremitted problem drinkers and nonproblem drinkers. At time 1, to-be-remitted drinkers reported less alcohol consumption and fewer drinking problems, more depression and less self-confidence, less spousal support and approval of drinking from friends, and more help-seeking than did to-be-nonremitted drinkers. Remitted drinkers showed improvement in functioning and life context at the 4-year follow-up, but compared with nonproblem drinkers some deficits persisted. Stable remission and abstinence among late-onset drinkers were closely tied to receiving less spousal support and approval from friends for drinking at time 1, whereas helpseeking was a strong predictor of stable remission and abstinence among early-onset problem drinkers. For both late- and early-onset drinkers, abstinence was predicted by initially having more drinking problems, depression, and health stressors.

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