Some college women may drink excessively to gain the attention of men, but new research from Loyola Marymount University suggests that drunk women are not as attractive to men as women believe.
Researchers surveyed 3,616 college students (ages 18-25) at Loyola Marymount University and the University of Washington, and asked women questions about their perceptions of what college men want women to drink, as well as the relationship between drinking and sexual attraction. The researchers then compared the women’s answers with men’s actual preferences.
Women who overestimated men’s preferences were more likely to drink excessively, according to the study.
Study author Joseph LaBrie, an associate professor of psychology at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, said “Our research suggests women believe men find excessive drinking sexually attractive and appealing, but it appears this is a giant misperception.”
In fact, 71% of the female students surveyed overestimated how much alcohol they need to imbibe to interest their male counterparts. These women were the same ones who also tended to drink to excess, according to the research, published in the March issue of Psychology of Addictive Behaviours.
“There is a great, and risky, disconnect here between the sexes,” LaBrie said. “While not all women may be drinking simply to get a guy’s attention, this may help explain why more women are drinking at dangerous levels. We believe universities and other public health organisations could use this information to help curb binge drinking among young women.”
A follow-up study by LaBrie is underway to determine how men think women view male drinking habits to see if the perception might have a similar effect on men’s drinking habits.
Source: The results were published in the March 2009 journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviours.