How drunk are you? How you answer may have nothing to do with your blood-alcohol content.
If you're a woman in college, you're more likely to describe your intoxication level using words associated with light or moderate drinking, like "tipsy" or "buzzed," according to a new study. College-age men, however, tend to describe themselves as "wasted" or "hammered."
The study, which will be published in the December issue of "Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research," examined 145 undergraduate students from a large midwestern university. It found that when describing one's level of intoxication, "women tended to use moderate terms, whereas men used heavy terms."
The difference in how guys and gals describe their intoxication can lead to problems, experts suggest.
"One potential real-world implication that this research suggests is that women may be at increased risk for alcohol-related consequences, such as drunk driving if they or their friends underestimate how intoxicated they are by using moderate terms like 'tipsy' to describe them when, in fact, they are heavily intoxicated and heavy terms would be more accurate," said Ash Levitt, a research scientist at the Research Institute on Addictions at the University at Buffalo, SUNY, in a release.
The findings on how intoxication is described correspond with the ways in which the drinking behaviors of men and women are "differentially perceived," Mark Wood, a professor of psychology at the University of Rhode Island, said in a statement.
Levitt said that men try to write off stupid behavior as more acceptable due to the fact they were drunk, USA Today reports.
"These beliefs normalized heavy drinking as both what most men actually do and what they ought or should do," Wood said, adding, "They also provide a potential excuse for typically unacceptable behaviors as something that is normative, acceptable, and even fun. Essentially, in an instance like this, intoxication provides a 'cultural timeout' from regulating one's behavior."