Are women drinking more like men? An empirical examination of the convergence hypothesis

Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 1990 Jun;14(3):461-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.1990.tb00504.x.


The convergence hypothesis predicts that women's drinking levels are increasing and are approaching those observed in men. To test this hypothesis, drinking practices of women and men were assessed at a large urban university at two points in time, 1977 (n = 1711) and 1985 (n = 1045). Although women's ethanol intake remained the same, significant changes in patterns of drinking were seen. The mean annual volume of beer consumed by females in 1985 showed a 33.9% increase over the mean annual volume in 1977. "Binge" drinking increased for both sexes from 1977 to 1985. A decrease in women's rate of abstention was also observed. Convergence with male drinking patterns was noted for several drinking parameters. This convergence was demonstrated by decreases in the ratios of men's drinking to women's drinking for these measures. Women consumed more wine per occasion than men in 1985. When corrections were made for differences in body fluid, the data suggested that convergence was not a trend, but had in fact occurred. The findings have serious implications, particularly in the light of recent findings that women are at greater health risk than men when they imbibe ethanol.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology*
  • Alcoholic Beverages / statistics & numerical data
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / epidemiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Gender Identity*
  • Humans
  • Identification, Psychological*
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Temperance / statistics & numerical data
  • United States / epidemiology