A new study from Ontario's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health has some surprising information about binge drinking: Heavy drinkers tend to be more popular among their peers.
The study, which will be published in the October issue of the Addictive Behaviors journal, may provide insight into why people choose to consume alcohol in large quantities.
Dr. Tara Dumas, the study's lead author, surveyed 357 young adults in Ontario in 2012. Her research team conducted three different surveys as respondents visited bars and determined how binge drinking related to social status. The results were surprising: Higher status among peers was correlated with the frequency and quantity of drinking alcoholic beverages. While binge drinkers were seen as more popular among both sexes, the result was even more pronounced in male respondents.
"Research already demonstrates that young people use alcohol for social means... as a way of fitting in," Dumas told The Daily Beast. "Our research further suggests that young people might be gaining social status benefits via their heavy drinking, or that higher social status might encourage riskier drinking practices among young people."
Of course, binge drinking is associated with high risk factors, including increased risk of homicide and unintentional injury, in addition to liver damage, stroke, and heart disease.