Trajectories of risky drinking around the time of statutory retirement: a longitudinal latent class analysis

Addiction. 2017 Jul;112(7):1163-1170. doi: 10.1111/add.13811. Epub 2017 Apr 16.


Background and aims: Life transitions such as retirement may influence alcohol consumption, but only a few studies have described this using longitudinal data. We identified patterns and predictors of risky drinking around the time of retirement.

Design: A cohort study assessing trajectories and predictors of risky drinking among employees entering statutory retirement between 2000 and 2011.

Setting and participants: A total of 5805 men and women from the Finnish Public Sector study who responded to questions on alcohol consumption one to three times prior to (w-3 , w-2 , w-1 ), and one to three times after (w+1 , w+2 , w+3 ) retirement.

Measurements: We assessed trajectories of risky drinking (> 24 units per week among men, > 16 units among women, or an extreme drinking occasion during past year) from pre- to post-retirement, as well as predictors of each alcohol consumption trajectory.

Findings: Three trajectories were identified: sustained healthy drinking (81% of participants), temporary increase in risky drinking around retirement (12%) and slowly declining risky drinking after retirement (7%). The strongest pre-retirement predictors for belonging to the group of temporary increase in risky drinking were current smoking [odds ratio (OR) = 3.90, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 2.70-5.64], male sex (OR = 2.77, 95% CI = 2.16-3.55), depression (OR = 1.44, 95% CI = 1.05-1.99) and work-place in the metropolitan area (OR = 1.29, 95% CI = 1.00-1.66). Compared with the slowly declining risky drinking group, the temporary increase in risky drinking group was characterized by lower occupational status and education, and work-place outside the metropolitan area.

Conclusions: In Finland, approximately 12% of people who reach retirement age experience a temporary increase in alcohol consumption to risky levels, while approximately 7% experience a slow decline in risky levels of alcohol consumption. Male gender, smoking, being depressed and working in a metropolitan area are associated with increased likelihood of increased alcohol consumption.

Keywords: Ageing; alcohol; cohort; retirement; risky drinking; trajectory.

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retirement / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk-Taking*