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Long, Jean (2011) TILDA reports alcohol use and dependence. Drugnet Ireland , Issue 38, Summer 2011 , p. 11.

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The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) is a detailed study of the health, lifestyles and financial situation of 8,000 to 10,000 people as they grow older and as their circumstances change over a 10-year period. The study is being carried out by Trinity College Dublin in collaboration with an inter-disciplinary panel of scientific researchers who have expertise in various fields of ageing. TILDA is funded by the Department of Health, Irish Life and Atlantic Philantropies. The information gathered in TILDA will improve our understanding of the factors that aid successful ageing in Ireland.

The first results from this study have now been published.1 The section on alcohol in chapter 5 of the report includes the following (cross-references removed):

TILDA respondents were asked about the frequency of their alcohol consumption as well as the quantity of alcohol consumed within the preceding six months. Respondents were also asked if [at any stage in their life] a doctor had told them that they suffered from alcohol or substance abuse. In addition, respondents completed the CAGE (cut-annoyed-guilty-eye) questionnaire, which consists of four questions evaluating alcohol patterns and behaviour and is a valid screening assessment for is a valid screening assessment for alcoholism.
Overall 1.8% of older Irish adults report a diagnosed history of alcohol or substance abuse. The rate is highest in men aged 65-74 years (3.9%). No association with education is observed. Individuals in the lowest wealth quartile are more likely to report a diagnosis of alcohol and substance abuse compared to those in the highest wealth quartile. When alcohol problems are assessed using the CAGE questionnaire, a different pattern emerges. The overall prevalence of ’problem drinking‘ (defined as a CAGE score of 3 or more) is higher at 4.8% and no association with wealth or education is observed.

Table 1  Problematic alcohol use and diagnosed substance abuse, by age and sex

Alcohol problem using CAGE
Diagnosed alcohol or other drug misuse
% (95% CI)
% (95% CI)
8.6 (7.3–10.2)
3.2 (2.4–4.2)
6.0 (4.5–8.0)
3.9 (2.9–5.4)
2.4 (1.2–4.5)
0.7 (0.3–1.8)
7.0 (6.1–8.2)
3.0 (2.4–3.7)
4.0 (3.2–5.1)
1.0 (0.7–1.6)
1.5 (0.8–2.8)
0.5 (0.2–1.3)
0.6 (0.2–2.1)
0.1 (0.0–0.6)
2.7 (2.2–3.4)
0.7 (0.5–1.0)
6.3 (5.5–7.2)
2.1 (1.6–2.7)
3.7 (2.8–4.8)
2.2 (1.6–3.0)
1.3 (0.7–2.3)
0.3 (0.1–0.8)
4.8 (4.2–5.4)
1.8 (1.5–2.2)
Source: After Barret et al. (2011), Table 5.A23, p. 120.

(Abstracted by Jean Long) 

1. Barrett A, Savva G, Timonen V and Kenny RA (eds) (2011) Fifty plus in Ireland 2011: first results from the Irish longitudinal study on ageing (TILDA). Dublin: Trinity College Dublin. 
Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
Issue Title
Issue 38, Summer 2011
Page Range
p. 11
Health Research Board
Issue 38, Summer 2011
Accession Number
HRB (Available)

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