Does hangover influence the time to next drink? An investigation using ecological momentary assessment

Amee J. Epler, Rachel L. Tomko, Thomas M. Piasecki, Phillip K. Wood, Kenneth J. Sher, Saul Shiffman, Andrew C. Heath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Background: Measures of hangover are associated with current and future problematic alcohol use. At present, it is not known whether these associations reflect any direct influence of hangover events on near-term drinking behaviors. The current study aimed to determine whether hangover following a drinking episode influences time to next drink (TTND) and, if so, to determine the direction of this effect and identify any moderating personal or contextual factors. Methods: Community-recruited, frequent drinkers oversampled for current smoking (N = 386) carried electronic diaries for 21 days, reporting on drinking behaviors and other experiences. Survival analysis was used to model data from 2,276 drinking episodes, including 463 episodes that were followed by self-reported hangover in morning diary entries. Results: When tested as the sole predictor in a survival model, hangover was associated with increased TTND. The median survival time was approximately 6 hours longer after episodes with hangovers compared to those without. In a multivariate model, hangover was only significant in the presence of interaction effects involving craving at the end of the index drinking episode and the occurrence of financial stressors. Additional predictors of TTND in the final multivariate model included age, lifetime alcohol use disorder diagnosis, typical drinking frequency, day of the week, and morning reports of craving, negative affect, and stressors after the index episode. There was no association between morning reports of hangover and contemporaneous diary ratings of likelihood of drinking later the same day. Conclusions: The findings suggest that hangover has, at best, a modest or inconsistent influence on the timing of subsequent alcohol use among frequent drinkers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1461-1469
Number of pages9
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2014


  • Alcohol
  • Ecological momentary assessment
  • Hangover
  • Negative reinforcement
  • Punishment


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