Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Hammered? Depends if you're a guy

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At what point would you consider someone to be just tipsy as opposed to hammered on alcohol? The answer depends on whether you're a man or a woman.

In a study published online in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, psychologists found women were more likely to describe heavily intoxicated females as just "tipsy" or "buzzed," whereas men were more likely to describe other men as "wasted" or "hammered" even if they were just moderately drunk.

The difference in word choice -- which is probably influenced by a variety of social factors -- could carry significant consequences for women, particularly those of college age, according to lead study author Ash Levitt, a social psychologist at the Research Institute on Addictions at the University at Buffalo, SUNY.

"The fact that women apply euphemistic terms such as 'tipsy' even when the target is substantially intoxicated is troubling," Levitt and colleagues wrote. "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."

-- Los Angeles Times

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 20, 2013 D4

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