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HEALTH / WELL-BEING

Alcohol misuse among older military veterans: an intersectionality theory perspective

March, 2021
Article:

The purpose of this study was to understand the interactions in alcohol misuse by veteran status and age, veteran status and sex, and veteran status and race. The study used combined data from the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Brief Risk Factor Resilience Survey (BRFSS) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  The study found that Black/Other race veterans were significantly more likely to engage in binge drinking and heavy drinking compared to non veterans of the same race, white veterans, and white non-veterans.

Abstract

Background: Alcohol misuse among older adults is an emerging public health issue. Older veterans are particularly at risk of developing substance use dependency due to the enduring impacts of military service. The purpose of this study was to test the theory of intersectionality on alcohol misuse by veteran status and age, veteran status and sex, and veteran status and race. Methods: Combined data from the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Brief Risk Factor Resilience Survey (BRFSS) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were used in this cross-sectional study. The BRFSS is conducted annually with adults via landline or cellular telephones in all 50 states in the United States, as well as in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam. Alcohol misuse among individuals aged 65+ was examined by veteran status and the interaction between age, race, and sex using survey-weighted logistic regression models. Results: Results show no interaction between veteran status and age or sex. For the interaction between veteran status and race, significant disparities were found. Black/Other race veterans were significantly more likely to engage in binge drinking and heavy drinking compared to nonveterans of the same race, White veterans, and White nonveterans. Conclusion: Older veterans who are also Black, Indigenous and/or people of color (BIPOC) are at great risk of engaging in alcohol misuse due to the combined stressors from their intersectional identities. Interventions targeting this population should consider the historical, cultural, and systemic factors that contribute to a disproportionally higher rate of binge drinking and heavy drinking among BIPOC veterans.

Full Reference

David L. Albright, Justin McDaniel, Zainab Suntai & Juliane Wallace (2021) Alcohol misuse among older military veterans: an intersectionality theory perspective, Journal of Addictive Diseases, DOI: 10.1080/10550887.2021.1897201

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