New study: college women binge drinking more often than college men

Here’s an article about a recent Harvard study in U.S. News and World Report.


Female college students exceed government-suggested limits on weekly alcohol consumption more often than male students do, according to a new report by researchers at Harvard University.

Men and women are starting on something of an uneven playing field. In 1990, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, a division of the National Institutes of Health, suggested that men drink a maximum of four drinks daily and 14 drinks weekly. The guidelines for women suggest that they max out at three drinks a day and seven drinks a week.

“Recommended drinking limits are lower for women than for men because research to date has found that women experience alcohol-related problems at lower levels of alcohol consumption than men,” says Bettina Hoeppner, a Harvard Medical School professor and coauthor of the study, published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research Friday.

[…]”With women’s greater tendency to exceed weekly guidelines than men, there may be long-term implications for women in particular,” the study suggests. “Women are at a greater risk than men of engaging in drinking habits during college that are more likely to result in long-term harm.”

Hoeppner says that the weekly limits are designed to prevent future health problems due to excessive drinking, such as liver disease and breast cancer. Of students who had had at least one drink during the first year, 60 percent of men and 64 percent of women reported exceeding the weekly guidelines at least once.

Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control warned about the increasing number of women and girls who binge drink and said that it’s an “under-recognized problem.”

“It is alarming to see that binge drinking is so common among women and girls, and that women and girls are drinking so much when they do,” Robert Brewer, head of the CDC’s alcohol program, said in a statement.

The College Fix wrote about this article, and noted that the response from feminist blogs like Jezebel were dismissive.


Reaction to the piece has emerged via a write up on the feminism website Jezebel that defended the girls’ decision to join, saying sororities “suck,” and that ”equal opportunity for women to succeed means equal opportunities to act like liver-shredding idiots.”

Jezebel writer Erin Gloria Ryan goes on to claim these girls are content with their decisions:

“When college women are free to do what they want, some of them are going to want to behave like college jackasses. They’re going to drink, swear, hook up sloppily and indiscriminately, barf in the streets, and generally act like boorish male characters in straight-to-DVD sex comedies. Oh, and one more thing: despite what an entire subgenre of concernmongering Little Girls Lost trend pieces on the phenomenon might have you think, they’re perfectly happy.”

Everything is going according to plan here, if you ask the feminists. In fact, this was their goal: equality.

What do you think is causing women to binge drink more than men? Is it some external force or is it something inside them that is driving it? When I talk to college-aged women about this, they usually don’t have a good answer for why they are doing it except because their friends are, and they feel obligated to participate.

In a previous post, I wrote about a study from the Institute of American Values that found that one of the reasons why women binge drink so much is to make them feel less responsible for hooking up with anonymous men at parties. After all, they reason, if they choose to drink themselves into a stupor then they aren’t responsible for what happens next. They can have stories to tell people about the superhot guys they hooked up with, but without feeling guilty about anything.

5 thoughts on “New study: college women binge drinking more often than college men”

  1. I’ve long wondered about this myself, having blessedly avoided such troubles (only by God’s grace…well, and a fear of wrecking my car, being a car girl, after all). I think the Institute of American Values study is right in large part, though I’m sure some feminist will blame the last shreds of female modesty and desire for self-preservation upon the patriarchy.

    That said, I can’t help but wonder if it’s also to dull emotional duress and confusion. Several women I went to college with who secretly, nervously confided they thought a great deal about whether or not they wanted to get married and have kids instead of having a career, as if this were a horrible crime; the only other gal I knew who baldly stated her life goal was to become a good wife and mother was loudly laughed at by my classmates (in the mid-90s). It’s a weird world.

    Truly, I think some of these women (not all, because some truly revel in being boorish and crass) are actually confused/uncertain about their present course and drink to cover it, or maybe give their brains a break from pondering it so often and so deeply. Though I think what these gals do is wrong and dangerous, I actually have a great deal of compassion for them, too. They’re swimming upstream in every way, and don’t really have anywhere to turn—they don’t come from churchgoing families, and many come from broken homes, to say nothing of the feminist ethos bearing down upon them. Does that make sense (having a Monday of Mondays here)?


    1. That’s a really good analysis, Jen. Doesn’t it seem like a lot of people are turning off their brains in this age – with drugs and alcohol, the culture (crummy movies, books, TV shows, etc), electronic diversions, their choice of news media, etc? There seems to be some sort of escape from basic logic going on – starting with a wholesale dismissal of the law on non-contradiction.


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