BUFFALO, N.Y. (CBS Connecticut) – A recently published study has found that intoxicated men are more likely to be described using terms such as “hammered” or wasted,” while women under the influence of a large quantity of alcohol are more commonly referred to as “tipsy” or “buzzed.”
The study, conducted at the Research Institute on Addictions at the University of Buffalo, SUNY, noticed this discrepancy while asking college students between the ages of 17 and 22 to complete a survey on the matter.
During the survey, the 145 participants were reportedly shown one of eight possible scenarios depicting intoxicated parties consuming alcohol, then asked to describe the main character of the given story. Participants later learned how many alcoholic beverages that character had consumed in the hypothetical vignette.
Characters of both genders who were moderately intoxicated were referred to with less severe terms such as “buzzed.” However, when the amount of intoxication was increased in the main characters, a spike in the severity of descriptive terms was observed only from those reading stories featuring a male character.
Female characters who were said to be extremely intoxicated in the story were still referred to as “tipsy” or “lightheaded” by participants.
“Drinkers use a complex set of physical and cognitive indicators to estimate intoxication,” Ash Levitt, a research scientist involved in the study, was quoted as saying. “Understanding this language is important as these terms reflect levels of intoxication as well as whether individuals are accurately estimating intoxication levels when they use these terms.”
In a press release obtained by CBS News, researchers said that as a result of the disparity, the perceived level of inebriation in women is significantly lower, which could increase risk of harmful behaviors such as drunk driving.
“The finding that women tend to avoid natural language labels that indicate excessive consumption indicates awareness of a gender-based double standard in which drinking women, and perhaps especially drunk women, are judged more harshly than men,” Levitt additionally noted.
According to the release, the study will be published in a December, 2013 issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.