Binge Drinking Makes You Cool, Briefly: Study

Heavy drinking indicates a higher peer group status: study

By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 18, 2014 1:40 PM CDT

(Newser) – Want to be the center of your social circle? You might have to hit the bottle. A new study notes men and women who engage in heavy drinking more frequently hold higher positions of power within their friend groups. The study—focused on 357 young adults headed to bars in Ontario over two months—tracked both the number and frequency of drinks consumed. What researchers discovered: Consuming a hefty number of drinks in one sitting, combined with more occasions of heavy drinking over the past year, indicated a higher peer group status for both sexes, though the find was more pronounced in men, the Daily Beast reports.

After a person hit 12 drinks, however, their influence appeared to peak. In some cases, they actually had less influence among friends than those who drank less. Even so, it's concerning "that higher social status might encourage riskier drinking practices among young people," the lead author says, noting that the findings should be taken into account in prevention programming. As for what accounts for this effect, another study author tells Medical Xpress, "For young men especially, it may be related to the perception the ability to tolerate large amounts of alcohol is associated with 'coolness', power, and masculinity," while "for young women, tolerance of alcohol is evaluated positively by female peers, often as a sign they can 'keep up with the boys.'"

Two young women smoke outside a bar in the central London area of Soho late Friday, April, 21, 2012.
Two young women smoke outside a bar in the central London area of Soho late Friday, April, 21, 2012.   (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
In this Tuesday, June 29, 2004 file photo, a bartender serves two mugs of beer at a tavern in Montpelier, Vt.
In this Tuesday, June 29, 2004 file photo, a bartender serves two mugs of beer at a tavern in Montpelier, Vt.   (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)
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