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J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2017 Jul;78(4):580-587.

Hangover Symptoms, Heavy Episodic Drinking, and Depression in Young Adults: A Cross-Lagged Analysis.

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Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri.
Department of Psychology and Institute for Health Research and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois.



The objective of this study was to examine associations between symptoms of alcohol hangover and depression, both cross-sectionally and prospectively.


Data were from a survey of young adults (N = 986, 60% female) initially recruited as part of an observational study of youth smoking. Participants reported past-year hangover symptoms, past-year frequency of heavy episodic drinking (HED), and past-week depression symptoms on two occasions separated by 1 year. Path analysis was used to evaluate prospective, directional associations linking symptoms of depression and hangover after taking into account their stabilities and cross-sectional associations. Individual differences in HED frequency were accounted for to permit interpretation of residual hangover score variance in terms of susceptibility to hangover effects.


Past-week depression and past-year hangover symptoms were associated at Time 1. Path analysis indicated that Time 1 depression symptoms were associated with elevated hangover symptoms a year later at Time 2. In contrast, Time 1 hangover symptoms did not predict future depression.


Depression symptoms are associated with current and future hangover susceptibility. Hangover and depression overlap symptomatically and are empirically associated with one another, suggesting the possibility that common underlying causal mechanisms may contribute to both phenomena.

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