While it may seem like the pain and suffering of a morning hangover might deter people from drinking again later that day, a new study found that hangovers only have a modest effect on subsequent alcohol consumption.
In new research from the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, researchers studied a group of 386 young adults who recorded diaries of their drinking habits for three weeks.
Participants self-reported hangovers in morning-diary entries, and rated whether they were likely to drink later in the day. Researchers saw no difference between ratings made on hangover and non-hangover mornings.
“Even when the drinkers were acutely suffering a hangover, it didn't seem to affect their conscious drinking intentions. No doubt this reflects the fact that drinking behavior is determined by a host of factors, like day of the week, opportunity, and social plans,” study author Thomas M. Piasecki, a professor in the department of psychological sciences at the University of Missouri, said.
Though hangovers did not appear to have a direct role in the acceleration of problem drinking, researchers concluded that hangovers may be a marker for other risk factors, such as tendency to lose control over drinking or individual differences in alcohol sensitivity.
“[Alcohol hangover] has been sort of a neglected topic in alcohol research,” Piasecki said. “Studying hangovers may provide new clues that help us better understand the effects of alcohol on health and behavior."