Research Advances in Alcohol and Drug Problems

pp 171-213

Drugs, Alcohol, and Aging

  • Edith S. Lisansky GombergAffiliated withSchool of Social Work, and Alcohol Research Center, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of Michigan

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Although developmental psychology used to stop abruptly after infancy, childhood, and adolescence had been described, there has been, for some decades now, increasing awareness and increasing research activity in the biological, psychological, and social aspects of adult life: young adults, middle-aged adults, elderly adults. The last group, defined here as 65 and older, is one stage (obviously the last stage) in the lifespan, and demographic data have pointed up the fact that this group represents an increasing proportion of the population of developed nations. In the early 1980s, this age group constituted 9.3% of the Canadian population (Fact Book on Aging in Canada, 1983) and 11–12% of the U.S. population (A Profile of Older Americans, 1986). Demographers predict an increasing proportion of elderly in the population, projecting their speculations into the early decades of the 21st century.