Does Alcohol Misuse Differ by Veteran and Gender Status in Adults 25 to 75 Years of Age?
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Purpose. Historically, alcohol misuse has been a problem among veterans. The purpose of this study was to examine whether alcohol misuse differs by veteran and gender status in adults 25 to 75 years of age in the general population. Methods. This cross-sectional study used data from the 2016 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System for adults 25-75 year olds in Alaska (N=2443), Arizona (N=8319), Montana (N=4754), South Dakota (N=4580), and Wyoming (N=3572). Ordered logistic regression by state was used to assess whether alcohol misuse differs by veteran and gender status when controlling for physical and mental health status, tobacco use, education, employment, income, race and marital status. Results. Across five states, there were low levels of excessive alcohol use (21-26%) and few veteran males (12-15%) and veteran females (1-2%). After controlling for health and socioeconomic factors, results showed that veteran and non-veteran males were more likely to use alcohol than non-veteran females (moderate effect sizes). In addition, alcohol use was highly related to physical health (moderate effect sizes) and smoking status (small effect sizes), and inversely related in age 65-75 (moderate effect sizes). Conclusion. Results of our analysis revealed a significant relationship between alcohol misuse and gender and veteran status across five states. Alcohol use was also related to smoking and good physical health in all 5 states. Providers in a primary care setting may expect a low prevalence of alcohol use in adults 55 to 75 years of age, but alcohol use screening should continue for all patients. Patients and with risk factors of alcohol misuse, that smoke tobacco, and are in good physical health, especially males, should undergo further detailed screening for moderate to high levels of alcohol use and educational materials and referrals should be made available.