Cross-cultural aspects of alcoholism in the elderly.

J. Westermeyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Thus far, we know relatively little about alcoholism among the elderly across cultures. However, extrapolation from available reports suggests certain common features across cultures. These include an inverse relationship between age and problem-producing dosages, increased risk of elderly alcoholics to trauma, greater efficacy of milieu changes with age, and a concentration of elderly alcoholics in cities. Conversely, certain other aspects of aging that vary across cultures may influence alcoholism in the elderly. These include the biological concomitants of aging, social status and the role of the elderly in the society (including integration or isolation of widowed persons), dealing with problematic behavior in the elderly, and patterns of alcohol use by the elderly. Future strategies for researching alcoholism among the elderly are suggested. It is suggested that cultural norms and values, as well as social policy, ameliorate or exacerbate alcohol-related problems among the elderly.


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