Life Stressors and Problem Drinking among Older Adults

  • John W. Finney
  • Rudolf H. Moos


Research on the prevalence of excessive drinking among persons age 60 and older is reviewed, and the inadequacy of general criteria for operationally defining problem drinking in this population is pointed out. We critically examine the empirical evidence relating life stressors (e.g., death of a spouse) to the onset of problem drinking in older age and, to a lesser extent, to the continuation of drinking problems into the later stages of the life cycle. Potential mediators and moderators of the stress-problem drinking relationship (e.g., personal coping methods and social resources) have generally been ignored in this research. Life stress is probably best viewed as a component of one or more of several combinations of factors that may trigger or perpetuate drinking problems. A comprehensive conceptual framework to guide future research is presented. The use of such a framework should serve to integrate research on problem drinking among older persons with work in the general field of adaptation to life stress.


Alcohol Abuse Life Stressor Stressful Life Event Drinking Behavior Problem Drinking 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • John W. Finney
    • 1
    • 2
  • Rudolf H. Moos
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Social Ecology LaboratoryStanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  2. 2.Veterans Administration Medical Center 116A4Palo AltoUSA

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