Educated Women More Likely to Drink

BlogHer Original Post

According to a recent study conducted by Francesca Borgonovi and Maria Huerta at the London School of Economics and reported in the Telegraph, women who hold a college degree are twice as likely to drink daily. They also are more likely to admit to a drinking problem. As the article states, "The better-educated appear to be the ones who engage the most in problematic patterns of alcohol consumption."

Portrait of a businesswoman holding a glass of pinacolada

The study's range spanned from childhood to adulthood, with an examination of early test scores as well as current behaviour and degrees held. Girls who achieved medium or high scores on standardized tests as children were twice as likely to drink as adults. And while men were also studied, the same results did not hold true with a looser correlation drawn between test scores, education level and the preponderance of drinking.

Freakonomics in the New York Times points out that the findings reveal a cultural difference and states, "Better-educated women may have more active social lives, may have children later in life, and may face different cultural norms of alcohol consumption." And their commenters take the question a step further, wondering if the results for a UK population translate overseas to an American population.

But is it that well-educated women have more disposable income and can therefore afford alcohol? Do they attend more parties or social events where alcohol is likely to be served? Do they feel they need to drink in order to hold their own at work social events, including after-work happy hours if they are in a male-dominated profession? Or is there an X-factor, something biological at work? Or an amalgamation of completely unrelated reasons all coming together to create this single phenomenon (such as Asylum's tongue-in-cheek reason: "Smart women are driven to drink because they realize that we are always just staring at their breasts.").

What's your take on these findings?

Melissa writes Stirrup Queens and Lost and Found. Her book is Navigating the Land of If.

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