Page last updated: March 27, 2017
Trajectories of risky drinking around the time of statutory retirement

Life transitions such as retirement may influence alcohol consumption, but few studies have described this using longitudinal data. A study aimed to identify patterns and predictors of risky drinking around the time of retirement.

A cohort study assessed trajectories and predictors of risky drinking among employees entering statutory retirement between 2000 and 2011. Subjects were 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.

Trajectories of risky drinking were assessed as well as predictors of each alcohol consumption trajectory. Risky drinking was defined as >288 g of pure alcohol per week among men, >192 g among women, or having an extreme drinking occasion during the past year from pre- to post-retirement.

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%). Thestrongest pre-retirement predictors for belonging to the group of temporary increase in risky drinking were current smoking (OR 3.90, 95% CI 2.70 to 5.64), male sex (OR 2.77, 95% CI 2.16 to 3.55), depression (OR 1.44, 95% CI 1.05 to 1.99), and workplace in the metropolitan area (OR 1.29, 95% CI 1.00 to 1.66). Compared with the slowly declining risky drinking group, the temporary increase in risky drinking group was characterised by lower occupational status and education, and workplace outside the metropolitan area.

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

Source: Trajectories of risky drinking around the time of statutory retirement: a longitudinal latent class analysis Halonen JI; Stenholm S; Pulakka A; Kawachi I; Aalto V; Pentti J; Lallukka T; Virtanen M; Vahtera J; Kivimaki M Addiction Published early online 16 April 2017.

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