Prevalence and Predictors of Increased and Hazardous Alcohol Consumption in a Cohort of Older South Australian Men during COVID-19 Restrictions

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Murray Nankivell
Natasha van Antwerpen
Deborah Turnbull
Tiffany Gill
Sean Martin
Melissa Opozda


Background: Increasing levels of risky alcohol consumption in older men observed in many countries, combined with trends for increased alcohol-related misuse by men during COVID, indicate a need to examine
alcohol use by older men during the pandemic.

Aim: To examine the prevalence and predictors of increased and hazardous alcohol consumption in older South Australian men during COVID-19 restrictions.

Method: Data collected in the latest (eighth) wave of the Men Androgen Inflammation Lifestyle Environment and Stress (MAILES) cohort study were interrogated. Participants were 746 community-dwelling older men (mean age 69 years) who completed a self-report survey on mental health, coping, COVID-related worries, and alcohol consumption during pandemic restrictions. Alcohol-related items asked about changes to overall consumption (analysed as increased vs. decreased/same) and number of standard drinks per occasion (analysed as <5 drinks [not hazardous consumption] vs. 5+ drinks [hazardous]). Two hierarchical binary logistic regressions were conducted to explore predictors of increased and hazardous alcohol intake.

Results: Eight percent of men reported increased alcohol intake and nine percent reported hazardous alcohol consumption during COVID-19 restrictions. Being in a younger age group (‘younger old’; OR=0.46, 95%CI=1.03, 2.28), having mild to severe depressive symptoms (OR=1.39, 95%CI=1.10, 5.05), and greater concern about becoming sick with COVID-19 (OR=1.52, 95%CI=1.03, 2.28) were predictive of increased alcohol consumption during restrictions. Younger age group (OR=0.46, 95%CI=0.34, 0.62) and greater concern about becoming sick with COVID-19 (OR=1.67, 95%CI=1.13, 2.51) were also predictive of hazardous alcohol consumption during this time.

Discussion: Men participating in longitudinal health study follow-ups may be less inclined to engage in unhelpful coping behaviours such as problematic alcohol use. Clinicians should regularly screen older men for risky alcohol consumption; a particular focus on screening ‘younger old’ men, those with more significant concerns around COVID-19, and those with depression symptoms may be warranted.


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Nankivell, M., van Antwerpen, N., Turnbull, D., Gill, T., Martin, S., & Opozda, M. (2023). Prevalence and Predictors of Increased and Hazardous Alcohol Consumption in a Cohort of Older South Australian Men during COVID-19 Restrictions . International Journal of Mens Social and Community Health, 5(SP2), e25-e39.
Freemasons Centre for Male Health & Wellbeing Special Issue
Author Biographies

Murray Nankivell, School of Psychology, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA. Australia Freemasons Centre for Male Health and Wellbeing, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute and University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA, Australia

School of Psychology, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA, Australia
Freemasons Centre for Male Health and Wellbeing, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute and University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA, Australia

Natasha van Antwerpen, School of Psychology, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA, Australia

School of Psychology, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA, Australia

Deborah Turnbull, School of Psychology, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA, Australia Freemasons Centre for Male Health and Wellbeing, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute and University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA, Australia

School of Psychology, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA, Australia
Freemasons Centre for Male Health and Wellbeing, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute and University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA, Australia

Tiffany Gill, Adelaide Medical School, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA, Australia

Adelaide Medical School, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA, Australia

Sean Martin, Freemasons Centre for Male Health and Wellbeing, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute and University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA, Australia

Freemasons Centre for Male Health and Wellbeing, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute and University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA, Australia

Melissa Opozda, Freemasons Centre for Male Health and Wellbeing, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute and University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA, Australia

Freemasons Centre for Male Health and Wellbeing, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute and University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA, Australia


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