The Risks of Being “Manly”: Masculine Norms and Drinking Game Motives, Behaviors, and Related Consequences Among Men

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Abstract

Research suggests a link between masculine norms and drinking behaviors and related consequences; however, the mechanisms of risk are not well understood, particularly with respect to drinking games. The present study helps bridge the masculinity and alcohol use literatures by examining the mechanisms by which certain masculine norms (i.e., winning, risk taking, heterosexual presentation, power over women, and playboy norms) are directly associated with drinking game behaviors and consequences, and indirectly by way of increased motivations to play drinking games for competition reasons, for enhancement/thrills, and/or to sexually manipulate others. Participants completed anonymous self-report surveys and consisted of young adult men who were current drinkers and drinking gamers (N = 905). Controlling for typical alcohol use on nondrinking game occasions, results indicated that certain masculine norms (i.e., heterosexual presentation, risk taking, and power over women) were directly associated with drinking game behaviors and/or consequences. Consistent with motivational models of alcohol use, conformity to masculine norms was also indirectly related to drinking game behaviors and consequences through their associations with specific drinking game motives. Both power over women and playboy norms were indirectly related to negative drinking game consequences through their positive associations with sexual manipulation motives. In addition, risk taking, winning, and playboy norms were indirectly related to drinking game behaviors and related consequences by way of increased endorsement of enhancement/thrills motives. Finally, risk taking, winning, and power over women were indirectly related to drinking game frequency through their positive associations with competition motives. Implications for intervention and future research are discussed.

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