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The gender gap in drinking patterns is narrowing

Image CC BY Angie Garrett
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But young men and women may have different perspectives on alcohol use

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How does gender interact with young people's beliefs about intoxication?

Gender and cultures of intoxication

The Gender, Alcohol, and Intoxication Study is a project funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to investigate young people’s ideas and experiences related to gender identity and alcohol use. Research suggests that the gender gap in intoxication is narrowing and that young men’s and women’s drinking patterns are becoming more similar. However, just because the frequency and quantity of drinking may be converging for women and men, this does not mean that the meanings, motivations, expectations, and risks related to intoxication are also the same for women and men. To date, too little research has examined intoxication from a gendered perspective. Our team is currently conducting 200 in-depth interviews with young adults to explore their beliefs and ideas about alcohol use and intoxication. These interviews will help to shed light on how intoxication is experienced and perceived differently for women and men, revealing the gendered nature of intoxication and how intoxication shapes gendered identities. Understanding how young people experience, negotiate, and orient themselves in a culture of intoxication is critical for designing effective preventive and harm reduction interventions tailored to the unique experiences of young adults.

    • Turn up is really just kind of getting loose and doing things that you wouldn't normally do during your busy week. I guess it could just be considered as just a release of all the stress and stuff from the work week and a time to just enjoy yourself to the fullest.
    • And it was like, I couldn’t reach out to anyone because I was underage and I was drinking. So, you didn’t want to tell anybody. But I was up sick like, all night.
    • The positive effects of alcohol is I’m a little more chatty, I'm a little more relaxed; it helps with social situations and sometimes weird anxieties that pop up in myself.

Research Team

Geoffrey Hunt, Principal Investigator
Tamar Antin, Co-Investigator
Olivia Bennett, Research Assistant
Maya Sisneros, Research Assistant
Ryan Laws, Research Assistant

A project at the Institute for Scientific Analysis

Funding

This research has been made possible by funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) (SES-1356094) and by funding from the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse (NIAAA) (AA022656). The content provided here is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of NSF or NIAAA.