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Papers of the Week

2020 Jan 20

J Clin Med



Pain Catastrophising Predicts Alcohol Hangover Severity and Symptoms.


Royle S, Owen L, Roberts D, Marrow L
J Clin Med. 2020 Jan 20; 9(1).
PMID: 31968563.


Alcohol hangover is a cause of considerable social and economic burden. Identification of predictors of alcohol hangover severity have the potential to contribute to reductions in costs associated with both absenteeism/presenteeism and health care. Pain catastrophising (PC) is the tendency to ruminate and describe a pain experience in more exaggerated terms. The current study examines the possibility that this cognitive coping strategy may influence experience of alcohol hangover. The aims of the current study were to (1) examine the relationship between hangover severity and PC, (2) explore and identify discreet factors within the Acute Hangover Scale (AHS) and (3) explore whether independent factors/dimensions of acute hangover are differentially predicted by PC. A retrospective survey ( = 86) was conducted in which participants completed the Acute Hangover Scale (AHS); the Pain Catastrophising Scale (PCS); a questionnaire pertaining to the amount of alcohol consumed; and a demographic information questionnaire. Regression analyses showed a significant relationship between PC and hangover severity scores and demonstrated that PC was, in fact, a stronger predictor of perceived hangover severity than estimated peak blood alcohol concentrations (eBACs). Factor analysis of the AHS scale, resulted in the identification of two distinct symptom dimensions; 'Headache and thirst', and 'Gastric and cardiovascular' symptoms. Regression analyses showed that both eBAC and PCS score were significantly associated with 'Headache and thirst'. However, only PCS score was associated with 'Gastric and cardiovascular' symptoms. These novel findings implicate a role for cognitive coping strategies in self-reports of alcohol hangover severity, and may have implications for understanding behavioural response to hangover, as well as suggesting that hangover and PC may be important factors mediating the motivation to drink and/or abuse alcohol, with potential implications in addiction research. Furthermore, these findings suggest that distinct alcohol hangover symptoms may be associated with different mechanisms underlying the experience of alcohol hangover.