Men and women are different when it comes to a night out drinking. Men will most often describe themselves as “hammered” while women will state that they are “buzzed”. The question is…is there a difference or is it just a difference in language? Are the men really as intoxicated as they say they are? Are the women not as intoxicated as they are indicating?
A study that was published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research asked college women and men how they felt after they had some alcohol to drink. They found that men tended to exaggerate a bit about how drunk they actually were by using words such as “hammered” and “trashed” while women tended to downplay their feelings with words like “tipsy” and “buzzed” even if they were heavily intoxicated.
Ash Levitt, a research scientist for the Research Institute on Addictions and the University of Buffalo says that men and women process their level of intoxication based on cognitive and physical cues. These cues are then paired with terms such as tipsy and wasted and are used to judge just how intoxicated a person says they are.
Another study conducted in 2007,including 145 undergraduates from Midwestern University were asked to apply their drunken descriptors to a range of fictional vignettes of men and women.
It seems from these studies that women stating that they are just tipsy or buzzed isn’t just language, they feel that they are not as drunk as they actually are. This could put women at risk for alcohol related incidents such as alcohol poisoning and DUIs. Heavier terms are more accurate for the most part for what women are experiencing but they fail to use them.
Another reason why women tend to downplay their intoxication levels may be because they feel it is not acceptable for a woman to be drunk and men may feel the opposite, that it is macho to drink a lot.