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Keywords:

  • Alcohol;
  • congeners;
  • family history of alcohol problems;
  • hangover resistance;
  • hangover;
  • heavy drinking;
  • moderate alcohol intoxication

ABSTRACT

Aims  To determine the incidence and covariates of hangover following a night of moderate alcohol consumption at a targeted breath alcohol level.

Design  Data were combined from three randomized cross-over trials investigating the effects of heavy drinking on next-day performance. A total of 172 participants received either alcoholic beverage (mean = 0.115 g% breath alcohol concentration) or placebo on one night and the other beverage a week later. The next day, participants completed a hangover scale.

Participants  Participants were 54 professional merchant mariners attending a recertification course at Kalmar Maritime Academy (Kalmar, Sweden) and 118 university students or recent graduates recruited from greater Boston.

Setting  One trial was conducted at Kalmar Maritime Academy (Sweden); the other two were conducted at the General Clinical Research Center at Boston Medical Center.

Measurements  A nine-item scale assessed hangover.

Findings  Hangover was reported by 76% of participants. Neither alcoholic beverage type nor participant characteristics was associated with incidence of hangover.

Conclusions  Our findings on the propensity of hangover suggest that 25–30% of drinkers may be resistant to hangover.