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Antecedents of Drinking for Early- and Late-Onset Elderly Alcohol Abusers:

Lawrence Schonfeld, Larry W. Dupree

The present study compared antecedents to recent drinking for two groups of elderly alcohol abusers admitted for treatment. Twenty-three early-onset alcohol abusers were matched with 23 late-onset alcohol abusers according to age and sex. Depression, loneliness and lack of social support were the most frequently reported antecedents to preadmission drinking behavior for both groups. However, early-onset subjects were more likely to have changed residence, were intoxicated more often and experienced more severe levels of depression and anxiety. Late-onset subjects had greater life satisfaction and motivation for treatment, but were rated by collaterals as having more severe alcohol problems. Early-onset subjects were more likely to drop out of treatment. Treatment implications for age-related commonalities are discussed. (J. Stud. Alcohol 52: 587-592, 1991)