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Cheers to Equality! Both Hostile and Benevolent Sexism Predict Increases in College Women’s Alcohol Consumption

With nearly 60% of college students reporting alcohol consumption, it is important to understand motivations behind this consumption. Previous research completed has shown that there may be an association between college women experience sexism and increased alcohol consumption.  The present study attempts to look at hostile and benevolent sexism conditions to see if college women would report consuming more alcohol or binge drinking after experiencing this sexism.

The final study included 199 female undergraduate students from a private U.S. Midwestern university. This study included an experimental lab session along with a follow-up survey the next day. The lab session included exposing participants to a sexism manipulation and the follow-up survey asked about alcohol consumption on the evening of the lab session. The lab session included asking the participants to read one of three bogus news articles surrounding sexism with women and men. The participants were then asked to respond to questions about what they read along with rating the article on intuitiveness, reasonableness, believability, persuasiveness and significance.

As the researchers predicted, there was positive effect of hostile and benevolent sexism condition on number of drinks consumed when compared to the control group. Participants were found to be 7.75 times more likely to engage in binge drinking if they were in the hostile sexism group when compared to the control group. The researchers did not find any variability in drinking expectations between the groups. These findings show how this type of sexism may impact college women’s alcohol consumption. Because of the negative consequences discovered, college campuses may benefit form providing education on coping mechanisms and interventions to reduce this sexism.

Take Away: The present study looks at hostile and benevolent sexism conditions to see if college women would report consuming more alcohol or binge drinking after experiencing this sexism. The study included 199 female students and consisted of an experimental lab session with a follow-up survey the next day. The lab session included exposing participants to a sexism manipulation and the follow-up survey asked about alcohol consumption on the evening of the lab session. Results showed there was positive effect of hostile and benevolent sexism condition on number of drinks consumed when compared to the control group. Participants were found to be 7.75 times more likely to engage in binge drinking if they experience hostile sexism when compared to the control group. These findings show how this type of sexism may impact college women’s alcohol consumption.


Hamilton, H. R., & Dehart, T. (2020). Cheers to Equality! Both Hostile and Benevolent Sexism Predict Increases in College Women’s Alcohol Consumption. Sex Roles. doi:10.1007/s11199-020-01140-2

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