Versão em Português

Does being attractive make you drink more?

22 Janeiro 2023

A curious study seeks to analyze how beauty can affect alcohol consumption by young people

A person's attractiveness is known to affect several factors related to socialization. One study analyzed data from more than 90,000 North American schoolchildren and sought to estimate the relationship between the attractiveness of these adolescents and the risk behaviors they reported, one of which was alcohol consumption (1).

The longitudinal survey, called Add Health, collected data from these students between 12 and 17 years old, and followed them up to the age group of 24 to 32 years old. The researchers observed that adolescents with greater attractiveness were less likely to engage in various risky behaviors, such as using cigarettes, drugs, or engaging in unprotected sex.

Alcohol consumption, however, differed from other risk behaviors, as more attractive adolescents showed a greater risk of drinking. In addition, analyzing the relationship between beauty and problems related to alcohol use in these participants' adult lives, the study points to a relationship between the two, with a weak tendency for people considered attractive in adolescence to have a greater chance of having problems related to alcohol consumption, such as abusive consumption and dependence. This effect was more evident among men, whereas among women, the effects seemed to be observed equally at both extremes (ie, between very attractive and unattractive women). The study does not seek to explain this association, but it is reasonable to assume that it involves sociability, that is, more attractive adolescents tend to be more popular and have more opportunities for socializing in which alcohol is present.

This study, although interesting, has several limitations. One is the very subjectivity of attractiveness ratings, which can vary from person to person. Furthermore, this criterion was evaluated by the interviewing team itself, and not by peers. Added to this is the difficulty of segmenting several associated variables, such as socialization and self-esteem. In general, this should be understood as an initial project, and further studies are needed to understand the real effect of attractiveness on the likelihood of engaging in risky behaviors. In any case, studies like this one highlight the importance of understanding alcohol-related behaviors within the social context in which they occur.

Additional Info

  • Referências:

    Green, C.P., Wilson, L. and Zhang, A., 2022. Beauty, Underage Drinking, and Adolescent Risky Behaviours.

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