A new study published in the November issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs may have found a potential link between older adults, financial woes, and alcohol and tobacco usage.

Between 1992 and 2006, researchers intermittently surveyed 2,300 people over the age of 65. During that time, 16 percent reported growing financial strain, with 3 percent reporting increases in heavy drinking and 1 percent saying they’d started smoking more.

In particular, older men experiencing financial stress were 30 percent more likely to become heavy drinkers, as were older adults with lower levels of education.

Lead researcher Benjamin A. Shaw of the State University of New York at Albany pointed out that findings don’t necessarily prove financial problems were the reason for changes in smoking and drinking habits, but he noted some people do smoke or drink more when under emotional duress.

“When you have a stressor that’s not very controllable, people may focus on something to help control their emotional response to the stressor,” he said in a journal news release.

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