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The correlates and consequences of alcohol consumption in elderly social drinkers

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The correlates and consequences of alcohol consumption in elderly social drinkers

Bortolussi, Lina S (1998) The correlates and consequences of alcohol consumption in elderly social drinkers. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

This study focused on the correlates and consequences of alcohol consumption in elderly social drinkers. The research examined the effects of moderate levels of alcohol consumption on cognitive and psychological functioning. Specifically, this study examined the applicability of the continuity and specificity hypotheses of alcohol-related cognitive effects to moderate drinking and also tested the effects of alcohol consumption on subjective well-being. The continuity hypothesis espouses a dose-response relationship between high levels of alcohol consumption and cognitive functioning. The specificity hypothesis states that alcohol-related cognitive declines are specific to frontal functions. Theoretically relevant sociodemographic, intellectual and psychosocial variables were also included in the study as control variables and to replicate previous findings. The sample consisted of 124 male and female elderly social drinkers between the ages of 61 and 90. They completed questionnaires on health, extraversion, neuroticism, locus of control, social support, activities, well-being, intelligence and alcohol consumption. Tests of frontal and temporal neuropsychological functions were also completed during two separate sessions. The results from regression analyses indicated the importance of education and gender in predicting lifetime alcohol consumption for elderly social drinkers. No support was found for the continuity and specificity hypotheses of alcohol consumption. As expected, age-related declines were observed for cognitive functioning. Intelligence and good physical health emerged as positive predictors of frontal functioning. Education played a more important role in temporal cognitive functioning. There were no effects of alcohol on subjective well-being for this sample. In line with previous research, well-being was associated with good self-reported physical health, internal locus of control, low neuroticism, and involvement in socially oriented activities. The results also suggested that some demographic variables (age, education, health) and intelligence are of greater importance than personality and other psychosocial variables, in accounting for alcohol consumption levels and cognitive functioning in elderly social drinkers. Limitations of this study including a small sample size and the low levels of alcohol consumption may have influenced the present findings.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Psychology
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Bortolussi, Lina S
Pagination:x, 188 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Theses (Ph.D.)
Program:Psychology
Date:1998
Thesis Supervisor(s):Pushkar, Dolores
ID Code:524
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 13:12
Last Modified:08 Dec 2010 10:15
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