After a night of heavy drinking, do you tend to describe your friends as “wasted” or “tipsy”? According to a new study by the Research Institute on Addictions at the University of Buffalo, your gender correlates with the terminology used to describe the drinking habits.
Ash Levitt, leader of the study, and his colleagues took 145 undergraduate students, and had them read short stories about people who had been heavily drinking. The participants tended to describe the female characters in more moderate terms such as “tipsy,” or “buzzed.” On the other hand, participants preferred to give descriptions like “wasted,” and “hammered” to the male characters.
This study parallels with previous research, which demonstrated that women tend to describe their own alcohol intake in more moderate terms than men. Levitt suggest that these research conclusions reflect gender and social norms; women describe themselves and each other in more moderate terms in order to fit expectations of how females should consume alcohol. College men, on the other hand, are inclined to drink more heavily to attempt to reach their own social standards.
Unfortunately, the consequences of these conclusions reach further than just skewed accounts of intoxication levels. Both recognition of sexual assault and decisions to drive after drinking are affected by how one recognizes their own “drunkness” or that of their friends.