An event-level investigation of hangovers' relationship to age and drinking.Exp Clin Psychopharmacol 2015; 23(5):314-323EC
Animal and human data suggest that adolescents experience hangover effects that are distinct from adults. The present study used ecological momentary assessment (EMA) methods to examine the temporal relationships between drinking and hangovers, and how this varied by age and sex. We hypothesized that alcohol's dose-dependent effects on hangover severity are more pronounced among adolescents and young adults than older drinkers. We also explored whether greater hangover severity would lead to a lower likelihood and volume of alcohol use later the same day. Data were pooled from 4 studies of drinkers (N = 274; ages 15 to 66 years) who completed a 4- to 14-day (M = 7.46, SD = 1.13) EMA monitoring period. Each morning, participants recorded how much alcohol they consumed the day before and rated their hangover severity. Participants who consumed a greater quantity of alcohol the prior day reported more severe hangover symptoms; however, there was an interaction between drinking volume and age, such that hangover was more severe among younger drinkers, especially at higher drinking levels. More severe hangover symptoms did not predict the likelihood of drinking later that day; however, on drinking days, more severe hangover symptoms predicted lower quantities of alcohol use later that day. This event-level effect did not vary as a function of age. Study outcomes did not vary by sex. Our findings suggest that younger drinkers experience more severe hangovers, and that greater hangover results in lighter drinking later that same day regardless of age.