eISSN: 1689-3530
ISSN: 0867-4361
Alcoholism and Drug Addiction/Alkoholizm i Narkomania
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vol. 32
Original paper

Prevalence and patterns of alcohol drinking among the elderly based on the results of the Standardized European Alcohol Survey (RARHA SEAS)

Marta Zin-Sędek

Alcohol Drug Addict 2019; 32 (1): 1-24
Online publish date: 2019/06/06
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The societies of Europe are aging. One of the less frequent problems studied by professionals is alcohol drinking among the elderly.

Material and methods
Based on the results of the Standardized European Alcohol Survey (RARHA SEAS), the alcohol attitudes of the Polish population of older people (60-64 years) were analysed. The research covered the following issues: the percentage of drinkers, the frequency and type of alcohol consumed, the environment and company motivations and risky single occasional drinking (RSOD). Differences in alcohol use between the elderly and younger respondents and also by gender were also presented.

The majority of both men and women were alcohol consumers (women – 70.3%, men – 92.1%). Differences are clearly visible in abstinent attitudes. Men are more likely to admit risky occasional drinking (RSOD) than women. Most women did not drink in a risky manner (64.8%) during the course of 12 months. This cannot be said about men as more than a half drunk in a risky manner. Risky drinking at least once a week was confirmed among 8.6% men and not a single women.

The RARHA SEAS study showed that although alcohol use among people aged 60-64 was common, the frequency of its consumption may be considered moderate. Gender is a factor differentiating the intensity and culture of drinking, which confirms previous observations on the consumption of alcohol by old men and old women.

The increasing share of the most elderly with diverse generational experiences in the population indicates the desirability of extending the study to persons of over 64 years of age in further research, taking into account patterns of alcohol consumption and factors affecting risky drinking. A study of this kind could produce evidence allowing us to develop a differentiated therapeutic offer for elderly people.


Elderly, Risky alcohol use, Alcohol drinking patterns

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