Substance abuse disorders among older adults is a possible consequence of the host of circumstances surrounding leaving the work force, revealed a new study.
According to Tel Aviv University research older adults often lack the skills required to cope with the sudden vacuum produced by retirement as well as events common to later life, such as deteriorating health and the death of spouses and friends.
The research also pointed to the impact of circumstances and conditions of retirement on feelings of depression, purposelessness, and financial strain, which are known to lead to substance abuse.
The study, conducted as an annual phone-based survey of 1,200 service, construction, and manufacturing workers aged 52-75, also found that retirement can cause marital strain, and this too may precipitate or exacerbate substance misuse or abuse.
Much can be done to prevent retirees from bottoming out, including screening and brief interventions aimed at identifying behavioral changes that could lead to substance abuse.
Prof. Peter A. Bamberger of TAU's Faculty of Management and Cornell University's Smithers Institute said that sometimes awareness alone would be enough to bring about positive change.
The study is published in the Journal of Work, Aging and Retirement.