Perception of Physical Attractiveness When Consuming and Not Consuming Alcohol: A Meta‐Analysis

Perception of Physical Attractiveness When Consuming and Not Consuming Alcohol: A Meta‐Analysis
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Journal Article
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Abstract Background and Aims Elucidating why people drink and why drinking can lead to negative psychosocial consequences remains a crucial task for alcohol researchers. Because drinking typically occurs in social settings, broader investigation of the associations between alcohol and social experience is needed to advance understanding of both the rewarding and hazardous effects of alcohol use. This review aimed to (a) estimate alcohol's relation to the perception of others' physical attractiveness and (b) suggest theoretical and methodological considerations that may advance the study of this topic. Methods Systematic review of Scopus and PsycInfo databases was conducted to identify experimental and quasi?experimental studies, with either between? or within?subjects designs, that assessed attractiveness ratings provided by individuals who had and had not consumed alcohol (k=16 studies, n=1,811). A meta?analysis was conducted to evaluate alcohol's aggregate association with physical attractiveness perceptions. Separate a priori secondary analyses examined alcohol's associations with perception of opposite?sex (k=12 studies) and same?sex (k=7 studies) attractiveness. Results The primary analysis indicated that alcohol was significantly related to enhanced attractiveness perceptions (d=0.19, 95% CI=0.05?0.32, p=.01; I2=5.28, 95% CI=0.00 to 39.32). Analysis of alcohol's association with perception of opposite?sex attractiveness similarly yielded a small, significant positive association (d=0.30, 95% CI=0.16?0.44, p<.01; I2=17.49, 95% CI=0.00 to 57.75). Alcohol's relation to perception of same?sex attractiveness was not significant (d=0.04, 95% CI=?0.18?0.26, p=.71; I2=54.08, 95% CI=0.00 to 81.66). Conclusions Experimental and quasi?experimental studies suggest that consuming alcohol may have a small effect of increasing perceived attractiveness of people of the opposite sex.