Mind the gender gap! When boys and girls get drunk at a party.

Ostergaard J.
Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs


This article investigates the gender gap in alcohol use and partying among Danish adolescents by means of a survey of 15 16-year-olds. The aim is, first, to reveal the present gender differences in alcohol use when using measurements such as age of onset of drinking, frequency of intoxication, binge drinking etc. Second, by drawing on other types of questions, the issue of the gender gap is readdressed from a perspective which contextualises adolescents use of alcohol. The context is the last party the adolescent went to, and the questions centre on whether boys and girls party differently and how alcohol might effect how they party. By using graphical models for high-dimensional contingencies developed by Kreiner (1987; 1996; 2003), it is first analysed if consumption of alcohol makes boys rate the party more successful than girls. Second, by mapping out what boys and girls do when they party it is analysed whether alcohol consumption results in boys and girls doing the same or different activities at the party. Finally, it is analysed what activities are associated with rating the party as successful. At the very end it is then discussed how a gender gap in alcohol consumption could also be explained by how alcohol is embedded in a social setting, where the adolescents perform traditional gender roles