Are You ‘Hammered’ Or Just ‘Tipsy’?


Men and Women perceive drunkenness differently and describe it in different words as well, according to a study published online, Wednesday in the journal 'Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research'.

According to psychologists, women generally refer to heavily drunk females as just 'tipsy' or 'buzzed,' on the other hand, men were more likely to describe boys, who are reasonably drunk as 'wasted' or 'hammered.'

"The fact that women apply euphemistic terms such as 'tipsy' even when the target is substantially intoxicated is troubling," said Ash Levitt, lead study author and a social psychologist at the Research Institute on Addictions at the University at Buffalo, SUNY.

"Misperceptions of others' intoxication could lead to the encouragement of poor decision-making and the downplaying of risky situations such as driving while impaired, having unplanned sexual activity, being the victim of verbal, physical, or sexual assault and experiencing other serious alcohol-related problems," Levitt said.

The study was conducted by researchers at Levitt's institute, the Midwest Alcoholism Research Center and the University of Missouri-Columbia. It comprised of 45 college undergraduate students, aged 17-22, who took part in online surveys in 2007.

The researchers arrived at the conclusion after asking participants to complete a questionnaire. The questionnaires included several scenarios with a group of imaginary male and female characters, visiting a bar for a friend's birthday party. The characters were described to be drinking either moderately or heavily, and involved in either violent or non-violent behavior.

Students were then given a list of words and phrases and asked them to match them appropriately with the characters. The words given to the students were euphemisms like buzzed, light-headed, loopy, tipsy, gone, hammered, obliterated, plastered, plowed, smashed, tanked, trashed and wasted.

"Female participants applied moderate intoxication terms to moderately intoxicated characters more than male participants. Additionally, male participants applied heavy intoxication terms more to heavily intoxicated male characters compared with heavily intoxicated female characters," authors wrote.

"Although women perceive that they are expected to drink as much as men in college drinking culture, women may be negatively perceived by both male and female peers when drinking heavily," authors wrote. "This double standard may lead women to apply moderate intoxication terms to themselves and to other women to downplay their level of intoxication and not violate perceived social and gender norms."

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