College Men to Women: Don't Drink Too Much - It Isn't Attractive

College men don't find excessive drinking by women to be appealing, contrary to what most college women falsely believe. That's the finding of research among 3,616 college and university students.

Seven of ten women (71%) overestimated the amount of alcohol that the typical college man hoped his girlfriend or date would consume. Over one-fourth (26%) though men wanted their female companions to consume five or more drinks.

The estimates of the women were about twice as high as the men actually preferred.

The research found that college women commonly drank alcohol "in pursuit of intimate relationships and positive attention from their male peers." "There is a great, and risky, disconnect here between the sexes," said researcher Dr. Joseph LaBrie. "While not all women may be drinking simply to get a guy´s attention, this study may help explain why more women are drinking at dangerous levels."

These findings are consistent with extensive research. Over 25 studies have found that students greatly overestimate the proportion of students who drink, the quantity and frequency of that drinking, and the degree to which they approve of heavy consumption or alcohol abuse. Thus, students tend to drink or to drink more than they prefer because of their false perceptions of the behavior and beliefs of their peers.

Research has also demonstrated that when credible surveys of actual alcohol consumption patterns are taken on college campuses and the results are widely promoted or "marketed," the extent of drinking drops.

The current study suggests that if the misperception college women have about mens' beliefs about womens' consumption of alcohol are corrected, drinking behaviors would be moderated. See information on social norms marketing to learn more about the effects of correcting misperceptions.

The report was published in the American Psychological Association's journal, Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.



  • Joseph W. LaBrie, Jessica Cail, Justin F. Hummer, Andrew Lac and Clayton Neighbors. What Men Want: The Role of Reflective Opposite-Sex Normative Preferences in Alcohol Use Among College Women. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 2009, 23(1), 157–162. 0893-164X/09/$12.00 DOI: 10.1037/a0013993;
  • Jennifer Harper, Washington Times, March 10, 2009.