A new study published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research suggests that both men and women tend to describe a drunk woman in moderate terms, such as 'tipsy', compared to when describing men.
The study was conducted by researchers from the Research Institute on Addictions at the University at Buffalo who related 145 undergraduate students a story of a situation involving four friends, two men and two women, celebrating a character's birthday in a bar. The researchers randomly changed the sex of the main character, the amount of alcohol drunk and how the character behaved.
The participants were then asked to select the term from a scale that displayed five moderate drinking terms and 11 heavy drinking terms that best related to the main character of the story. The researchers found that while the participants correctly perceived whether the character was moderately or heavily intoxicated, they tended to select moderate terms to female characters even when it was clear that the character was heavily intoxicated.
"The fact that men tend to gravitate toward heavy terms more than moderate terms may reflect that men are influenced by norms for college drinking, such as how much other college men drink. Such behavior is not only misguided, but it also has dangerous consequences", lead researcher Ash Levitt said.