-- Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, Nov. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Some older adults may turn
to alcohol or cigarettes as a way to cope with financial stress,
particularly men and people with less education, a new study
In the study, researchers surveyed 2,300 older Americans
periodically between 1992 and 2006, and found that 16 percent
reported growing financial strain over that time, 3 percent
reported increases in heavy drinking (more than 30 drinks a month),
and 1 percent said they'd started smoking more.
The youngest of the study participants were age 65 when the
Older men who faced increasing financial stress were 30 percent
more likely to become heavy drinkers than those who remained
financially stable. This increased risk was similar for older
adults with lower levels of education compared to those with more
Older women and seniors with higher levels of education tended
to reduce their drinking when they encountered financial struggles,
according to the study published in the November issue of the
Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.
The findings don't actually show that financial problems were
the reason for changes in smoking and drinking habits, but it is
known that some people use alcohol and tobacco as a way of coping
with stress, noted lead researcher Benjamin A. Shaw of the State
University of New York at Albany.
"When you have a stressor that's not very controllable, people may focus on something to help control their emotional response to the stressor," he said in a journal news release.
Financial woes may be particularly stressful for older adults,
"They are out of the workforce, and they might feel like they have less time to recover or generally have less control over their financial situation," he explained.
The American Psychological Association outlines ways to
manage your stress in tough economic times.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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