Term of Award

Spring 2024

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Jeffrey Klibert

Committee Member 1

Dorthie Cross-Mokdad

Committee Member 2

Rebecca Ryan


Alcohol is the most regularly used intoxicating substance in most geographic locations. Alcohol use in the United States specifically is well over global averages. While alcohol misuse is generally considered to be understood as a problem for younger adults, it is often unrecognized and understudied older adult populations. Currently, there is an absence of a comprehensive tool measuring for developmentally salient behaviors, symptoms, and features of alcohol misuse in older adulthood, which blocks researchers’ ability to measure alcohol misuse well. The purpose of this study is to develop a psychometrically valid and reliable assessment of alcohol misuse for older adult populations. Three separate studies were conducted to evaluate the psychometric properties of the developed measure. Using an exploratory factor analysis, the first study identified a suitable two-factor structure of misuse. Content of identified factors aligned closely with the notion of adverse outcomes and drinking intention. The second study used a confirmatory factor analysis to confirm the two-factor structure. Results revealed solid to good fit to the data. Finally, the third study evaluated internal consistency and convergent validity for the two-factor structure. Results highlight strong reliability estimates and meaningful correlations with theoretically related constructs, including depression, health, and general alcohol use. These findings suggest the developed measure is a robust assessment for alcohol misuse in older adult populations. Results also detected mixed findings related to demographic differences (i.e., gender identity, rural status) in reports of alcohol misuse dimensions. Most interestingly, in the third study older adult men residing in rural areas report higher scores on the misuse dimensions than older adult men residing in urban areas. The opposite appears to be true for women. Overall, these findings extend the literature related to alcohol misuse for older adult populations by offering a novel measure to assess for developmentally salient behaviors. It will be important for future researchers to determine how the developed measure can be used to direct treatment consideration with older adult populations.

Research Data and Supplementary Material