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Keywords:

  • Older Problem Drinkers;
  • Remission;
  • Life Stressors;
  • Social Resources;
  • Late-Onset Drinking

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.