Cheap drunk?

Study finds women better than men at holding their liquor

Oct 11, 2004 - Research by scientists in Kentucky indicates that women are better at "holding their liquor" than men. The study at the University of Kentucky found men's loss of inhibition was three times greater than women's with the same blood alcohol levels.


Writing in the journal Addiction, they said the finding might explain why men are more likely to become aggressive.

In the study, men and women "social drinkers" were given a set amount of alcohol. They then tested their ability to hit a button at the right time when a symbol flashed up. Participants had to hit a green button when a green symbol flashed up. If a blue symbol appeared, they were told not to hit anything. People became less able to prevent themselves hitting the green key when a blue symbol appeared the more drunk they became.

The participants were then asked to evaluate the effect they thought alcohol had on them, rating how well certain adjectives applied to them. The men reported levels of stimulation, including aggression, confidence and loss of inhibition, which were two and a half times higher than women.

In contrast, the women reported a six times higher level of sedation than the men.

"There is a general supposition that women don't hold their liquor very well but our results show that it is men who become uninhibited and get a high more quickly," psychologist Mark Fillimore said.