Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Human Ecology

Major Professor

Diane Austin Klein

Committee Members

Mark Littmann, Michael Singletary, Robert J. Pursley, Eugene C. Fitzhugh


If the population bubble known as the Baby Boomers continue to consume alcohol at higher than expected levels as they age into the middle and older adult categories it could have a substantial impact on future health care needs. This problem will be compounded if Boomers also take analgesic (pain-relief) medications when consuming alcohol. The objective of this study is to determine the prevalence of alcohol and analgesic usage in the Baby Boomer cohort and to ascertain whether there is an association between alcohol, analgesics, and pain. Drinking alcohol while also taking analgesics can have serious health consequences and, depending on the type of analgesic, could result in acute liver failure or other serious health problems. Data were analyzed from the 1999-2000 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) for participants born during the Baby Boomer cohort years of 1946-1964. Analysis by SUDAAN indicated that approximately 67% of the Boomers are drinking alcohol beyond what is considered a moderate level by the CDC and NIAAA. More than half the respondents had used analgesics daily or almost every day for at least a month (females = 58.7%; males = 40.5%) and Boomers who are currently using analgesics (females = 19.35%; males = 16.34%). There was a significant association for respondents who reported consuming 12 or more drinks during the past 12 months and who were currently taking analgesics (p = 0.02). A statistically significant association found for respondents who reported experiencing persistent pain in the past 12 months and who had binged (5 or more drinks) at least once during the past 12 months with taking RX analgesics (CMH: p = 0.03, df = 1).

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