"Man-ing" up and getting drunk: the role of masculine norms, alcohol intoxication and alcohol-related problems among college men

Addict Behav. 2011 Sep;36(9):906-11. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2011.04.005. Epub 2011 May 1.


Compared to college women, college men face elevated risks for problematic drinking and negative alcohol-related consequences. These risks highlight the critical need to investigate gender issues and risk factors contributing to intoxication and related problems among men. Theoretical models suggest that conforming to masculine norms or the beliefs and expectations of what it means to be a man, may help explain patterns of problematic drinking among men. The current study advances the literature by investigating the association between masculine norms, drinking to intoxication, and alcohol-related consequences among 776 undergraduate males after taking into account the importance of fraternity status and perceived peer norms. Results indicate that fraternity status and higher perceived peer norms regarding drinking increased the risks of getting drunk and experiencing alcohol-related consequences. Specifically, the masculine norms of being a "playboy", risk-taking, and winning were risk factors of drinking to intoxication; while, being a "playboy", risk-taking, and self-reliance increased the risks of alcohol-related problems. Primacy of work and heterosexual presentation were two masculine norms that were protective of drinking to intoxication. Our findings contribute to important future considerations for prevention, clinical interventions, and public-health implications in college settings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology*
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / epidemiology
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / psychology*
  • California / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Masculinity*
  • Peer Group
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Conformity*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Universities
  • Young Adult