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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

A Mixed Methods Investigation of Alcohol use in Sheltered Accommodation

Payne, Annette (2018) A Mixed Methods Investigation of Alcohol use in Sheltered Accommodation. Doctoral thesis, University of Sunderland.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)


Alcohol use in later life has received little attention. Among older people psychosocial factors including bereavement, retirement, boredom, loneliness, and depression are associated with higher rates of alcohol use. The loss of a home has been compared to bereavement; therefore, where older people live has an impact on the quality of their lives (Tinker, 1997). This thesis focuses on alcohol use of older people who live in sheltered accommodation in Newcastle upon Tyne. No published work has been conducted on this population to date and therefore it is not known whether or why they drink at different levels to the general population of older people because of their loss of their home.
The population for this research was people living in sheltered accommodation in one city in the North East of England. Sheltered accommodation is housing designed to help older people live independently, where there is support available onsite. Alcohol use in residents of sheltered accommodation was assessed in two studies.
The aim of Study 1 was to investigate the levels at which the sheltered housing population are consuming alcohol. The study comprised of a postal survey using the alcohol disorders identification test survey tool (AUDIT) (Babour, Higgins-Biddle, Sanders et al, 2001). The AUDIT score is a method of measuring a person’s risk from alcohol related harm which goes beyond purely measuring consumption as it also measures the frequency of use and the effect of alcohol use. Data were analysed using SPSS. Findings showed that
men in the research population scored higher than the women and that the younger age group (<70) had higher scores than the other two age groups (71-80 and >80).
The aim of Study 2 was to investigate the factors determining decisions to drink in later life. Study 2 comprised 16 in-depth interviews using a life course approach. Data were analysed using a framework approach with a biographic narrative overlay. Findings showed that there were a number of factors influencing the decision to drink to harmful and or hazardous levels including mental health, domestic violence, social contact, family and work. Case studies were developed and presented based on these findings.
This research found that older people’s lives do not simplify as they age and therefore the reasons for using alcohol are complicated and individualised. They are influenced by early life experiences, traumatic or life changing events as well as the strength of the person’s locus of control. Further work is needed to establish support needs for drinkers in later life, both to reduce drinking levels and to reduce harms from current levels of drinking. Older people are the group who are most likely to lack knowledge of what these units and limits are (McInnes & Powell, 1994). An older person specific unit guide should be developed and implemented. There needs to be improved multidisciplinary staff training to facilitate an increase in the identification of those older people who consume over the advised alcohol limits. Policy should consider the move away from a one size fits all model of alcohol management to a more individualised approach to support the adjustment of later life events

Payne Final Version of thesis - June18.pdf - Accepted Version

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Depositing User: Barry Hall


Item ID: 9869

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Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 15 Aug 2018 09:16
Last Modified: 20 May 2019 12:04


Author: Annette Payne

University Divisions

Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing


Social Sciences > Health and Social Care

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