Exploring risk perceptions of alcohol consumption among older people
Dr. Nualnong Wongtongkam, Ms. Victoria Kostadinov, Dr. Sophie Pointer
To date, alcohol-related risk perceptions have typically been researched among youth, with little attention directed towards older adults. Existing literature suggests that older people who drink at risky levels often lack a clear understanding of safe drinking guidelines and characterise their own drinking as “social” (rather than “heavy”). However, a specific exploration of how older people understand the risks associated with drinking alcohol, and weigh them against perceived benefits of consumption, has not been undertaken. It is therefore unclear how risk perceptions are related to consumption patterns among older people.
Information about how older people understand and evaluate their own consumption is needed in order to inform interventions and health promotion activities that target specific areas of misinformation or misunderstanding regarding alcohol consumption and associated harms. Doing so will ultimately help to ensure that older people have the knowledge and tools necessary to make informed decisions about their drinking, and to undertake harm minimisation strategies if necessary.