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Monday, December 12, 2011

Gender differences in factors associated with alcohol drinking: Delay discounting and perception of others’ drinking

Excessive alcohol consumption in college students is associated with impulsivity and with overestimating levels of others’ drinking; however, females’ and males’ drinking may be differently impacted by their overestimations. We examined whether moderate drinkers discount alcohol rewards differently from money rewards and whether their estimate of others’ drinking is more closely associated with own-drinking for males than females.

College students completed two delay discounting tasks in which they chose between money rewards and between alcohol rewards, varying in amount and delay to receipt. Participants also completed questionnaires about their own and others’ drinking.

Area under the curve (AUC) relating delay to subjective value was smaller for alcohol than money rewards, implying steeper discounting of alcohol rewards. Regression analyses showed that females’ number of drinks per sitting was related only to AUC for money, while males’ drinks per sitting was related to their estimates of others’ drinks.

The relationship between alcohol consumption and discounting was replicated. This study also indicated that social norms play a larger role in determining males’ drinking than females’.

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