Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Alan J. Hovestadt

Second Advisor

Dr. Joseph Morris

Third Advisor

Dr. Dennis Simpson


The purpose of this study was to examine the differences that may exist between two identified groups of older African American women: (1) light to moderate consumers of alcohol, and (2) abstainers from alcohol. Within these two groups are four subgroups of women that were studied: (1) abstainers with high social support, (2) abstainers with low social support, (3) light to moderate consumers of alcohol with high social support, and (4) light to moderate consumers of alcohol with low social support.

Through a contact-and-referral technique, a purposive sample of 97 African American women who were 65 years and over living in a moderate size Midwestern urban community was investigated during the fall of 1999. Measures utilized in this study consisted of one sociodemographic questionnaire and four self-report assessment instruments: the Mini-Mental Status Exam (MMSE), to assess a person’s cognitive mental status; the sociodemographic form, developed by the researcher to gather demographic data; the Center fo r Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale (CES-D), to measure depressive symptoms; the Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test-Geriatric Version (MAST-G), to determine alcohol consumption levels; and the Inventory of Socially Supportive Behaviors (ISSB), to assess how often individuals received various forms of social support during the preceding month. Two-tailed t tests and chi-square tests were used in the study. For each analysis, the level of statistical significance was set at p s .05.

No significant differences emerged between older African-American women who were light to moderate consumers of alcohol and those who were abstainers in levels of depressive symptomatology, levels of social support, perceived health status, marital status, living arrangements, and income levels. In the present study, both abstainers and light to moderate consumers of alcohol report low levels of social support and high scores of depressive symptomatology.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access