Aim: To investigate the effects of students' usual levels of alcohol consumption on aspects of mood and anxiety the following morning.
Methods: Students were recruited who consumed their usual quantity of any type of alcoholic beverage in their chosen company and then completed assessments of the effects the following day. The timing of drinking was restricted to the period between 22:00 and 02:00 h the night before testing as these are the most popular hours for consuming alcohol in the population under investigation. The testing included an assessment of mood and anxiety; testing was also performed after an evening of abstinence (no hangover condition), following a counterbalanced repeated measure design, with time of testing and order of testing as 'between participant' factors. Forty-eight student social drinkers (33 women, 15 men) aged between 18 and 43 years were tested, with a 1 week interval between test sessions.
Results: Males reported consuming on average 14.7 units and females 10.5 units the night before testing. On the morning after alcohol consumption, ratings of alertness and tranquility were lower than the ratings the morning following an evening of abstinence at both 11:00 and 13:00 h and the post intoxication physical symptoms, emotional symptoms and symptoms of fatigue persisted throughout the morning.
Conclusion: Heavy alcohol consumption lowers mood, disrupts sleep, increases anxiety and produces physical symptoms, emotional symptoms and symptoms of fatigue throughout the next morning.