TipsyGrrl ponders the odd connection between doing well on tests and drinking more.
And no, unfortunately, the London School of Economics study did not draw the inverse causal connection: that drinking more leads to being smarter. (Which was my first thought when I saw the headline. Back to reality…)
As reported by the UK Telegraph, what this large study (with between 9,500 and 17,000 subjects) did find was that better-educated women are the ones who engage in high levels or high frequency of alcohol consumption. Women with higher-ed degrees were found to be 86% more likely to “engage the most in problematic patterns of alcohol consumption” than those less educated.
Similar results were found for men in the study, but the correlation was much weaker (not really worth reporting on, apparently).
Interestingly, the correlation between smarts and proclivity for alcohol in females was not limited to college-level learning and environments. Because the study took place over the lifetime of the participants, the authors were able to look at scores of tests taken early in life. Women who achieved “medium” or “high” test marks at ages 5 and 10 were two times as likely to drink daily as adults.
I am surprised by these findings. I would have expected to find just the opposite. What are some possible explanations? The study’s authors offer these guesses:
- That there was a greater exposure to alcohol during formative years. [First time I've heard this one... that higher educated parents expose their kids to more alcohol?]
- That a middle- or upper-class lifestyle exposes you to more circumstances that favor alcohol consumption [Really? I don't see how they came to that conclusion. Even in the UK, aren't pubs extremely popular for all classes?]
- That women with higher qualifications have more disposable income. [No doubt, but since when didn't folks without disposable income figure out a way to spend some of their money on booze?]
- That alcohol abuse is more accepted in the well-educated social spheres. [Perhaps what they mean is: the boss can get away with being hungover or drunk. The lower-rung worker would be fired.]
Anyone have other ideas as to what causes could be behind this positive association?
(Photo by Flickr user soylentgreen23)