1. To describe age-related trajectories of drinking in different settings and to determine the extent to which individual and social contextual factors, including socioeconomic position, social networks and life events influence drinking pattern trajectories.

 2. To estimate the impact of drinking trajectories on physical functioning and disease in older populations. The intention is to disentangle the exposure-outcome associations in terms of a) timing, i.e. the effect of drinking patterns in early, mid and late life on functioning and disease; and b) duration, i.e. whether the impact of drinking accumulates over time.

 3. To test the bidirectional associations between health and changes in alcohol consumption over the life-course in order to estimate the relative importance of these effects and to determine the dominant temporal direction.

 4. To determine explanatory mechanisms: A core focus is on understanding the pathways through which alcohol consumption and associated drinking trajectories affect health and physical functioning in later life. We will also examine the role played by potential effect modifiers of the association between drinking and poor health.

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