Does mental health differ by alcohol use in elderly male veterans?

Date

2020

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Shaffer, Kristin
Shaffer, Sarah
Perryman, Kenzie
Patterson, Jasey
Hartos, Jessica

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Abstract

Purpose: With limited research for mental health and alcohol use among veterans in the general population and none for elderly male veterans only, the purpose is to assess whether mental health differs by alcohol use in elderly male veterans in the general population. Methods: This cross-sectional analysis uses 2017 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data for male veterans aged 65 and older in general population samples from Florida (n = 1,700), Maryland (n = 1,060), New York (n = 552), and Washington (n = 1,031). Multiple logistic regression by state assessed the relationship between mental health and alcohol use, after controlling for health-related, demographic, and socioeconomic factors. Results: Across states, most participants reported good mental health (80%-84%) and more than half reported drinking (53%-63%). Adjusted results indicated that mental health did not differ by alcohol use in any state; however, it was related to physical health and activity limitations across states. Conclusion: Overall, alcohol use was not related to mental health in elderly male veterans in the general population; however, physical health status and activity limitations were. Practitioners should always screen for alcohol use and should automatically screen for mental health, physical health, and activity limitations when symptoms present for any and assess concurrent treatment and management strategies.

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