Effects of alcohol consumption on disability among the near elderly: a longitudinal analysis.
Data from four waves of the Health and Retirement Study are used to analyze the effects of alcohol use on disability, mortality, and income transfers from public programs. Cross-sectional analysis reveals a complex relationship, with a history of problem drinking clearly leading to higher rates of limitations, and a nonmonotonic relationship between current drinking and disability. In longitudinal analysis, problem drinking was predictive of disability onset, but not of transfer receipt or mortality. Heavy drinkers and problem drinkers, if anything, were less likely to receive public income support than abstainers or moderate drinkers. The likelihood that heavy drinkers received public transfers did not decrease relative to others following statutory changes in 1996 that sought to limit eligibility of alcoholics and drug abusers.
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