Women are more likely to crave alcohol than men when stressed, new study reveals
- Stress may make women more likely than men to crave alcohol, experts suggest
- Both men and women go heavy on the booze after being put under pressure
- Yet women tend to want a drink before men, who usually start only when offered
Stress may make women more likely than men to crave alcohol.
While both sexes tend to drink heavily after being put under pressure, a study found one key difference.
Although men drank to excess once offered alcohol, women appeared to fancy a stiff drink before having their first sip.
This followed stressful tasks such as public speaking and mental arithmetic.
Experts suggest women may face more social pressure over how they appear to others, which could leave them craving a drink.
Researchers recruited 105 men and 105 women, setting up a simulated bar in their laboratory.
Around half the group were given five minutes to prepare a speech on what they liked and disliked about their own personality, appearance and life, then speak for five minutes. They were told they would be evaluated on psychological factors including how defensively or openly they spoke.
Stress may make women more likely than men to crave alcohol. Experts suggest women may face more social pressure over how they appear to others, which could leave them craving a drink (File image)
They then had to count backwards from 1,022, subtracting 13 each time, having to return to the start if they got it wrong. During 90 minutes at the bar afterwards, they ordered almost half a drink more on average than volunteers not given stressful tasks.
But stressed men given alcoholic cocktails before spending 90 minutes at the bar ended up getting more drunk than men put under no pressure.
This was not the case when they received non-alcoholic drinks first. Stressed women appeared more likely to get drunk even if they were not given alcohol first, according to the study, published in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.
They were also more likely to ignore a request to slow their drinking. Dr Julie Patock-Peckham, who led the Arizona State University study, said: ‘Women just needed the stress, but men needed the push of already having alcohol on board.
‘This shows women may be more vulnerable to heavy drinking due to the impact of stress – which is worrying after a pandemic of home-schooling and working from home.’
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