Cleverest Women Are the Heaviest Drinkers

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Women who went
to university consume more alcohol than their less-highly-educated
counterparts, a major study has found.

Those with
degrees are almost twice as likely to drink daily, and they are
also more likely to admit to having a drinking problem.

A similar link
between educational attainment and alcohol consumption is seen among
men, but the correlation is less strong.

The findings
come from a comprehensive study carried out at the London School
of Economics in which researchers tracked the lives of thousands
of 39-year-old women and men, all born in the UK during the same
week in 1970.

The report
concludes: "The more educated women are, the more likely they
are to drink alcohol on most days and to report having problems
due to their drinking patterns.

"The better-educated
appear to be the ones who engage the most in problematic patterns
of alcohol consumption."

Women’s alcohol
consumption can even be predicted from their scores in school tests
taken when they are as as young as five.

Women who achieved
"medium" or "high" test marks as schoolgirls
are up to 2.1 times more likely to drink daily as adults.

The authors
of the report, Francesca Borgonovi and Maria Huerta, suggest several
possible explanations as to why better-educated women drink more.

They tend to
have children later, postponing the responsibilities of parenthood.
They may have more active social lives or work in male-dominated
workplaces with a drinking culture.

As girls, they
may have grown up in middle-class families and seen their parents
drink regularly.

In the long-term
study, the LSE team followed all the people born in Britain during
one week in 1970, asking them questions about their lifestyle at
regular periods throughout their lives.

The number
of people for whom information was available has varied over the
course of the research between 9,665 and 17,287.

The researchers
took account of each individual’s school test results and level
of academic attainment, as well as their answers to regularly-administered
surveys in which they were asked questions such as "Have you
ever felt you should cut down on your drinking?" and "Have
you ever had a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves
or get rid of a hangover?"

Women with
some educational qualifications were 71 per cent more likely to
drink on most days compared to women with no qualifications. Women
with degree-level qualifications were 86 per cent more likely to
do so.

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the rest of the article

April
9, 2010

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