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PhD Studentship in Psychology: Testing the Hangxiety Hypothesis - The Effects of Alcohol Hangover on Anxiety

University of Bath

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Bath
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £15,104 p.a. in living costs (current rates), plus home tuition fees
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 21st October 2019
Closes: 1st December 2019

The University of Bath (Department of Psychology) is pleased to offer a PhD project starting in October 2020, supervised by Dr Sally Adams, Dr Graeme Fairchild and Dr Charlotte Dack.  This project is in competition for funding from the ESRC South-West Doctoral Training Partnership and our internal URSA funding scheme.

Hangover is the most commonly reported negative consequence of alcohol use and it has significant health and economic implications. Alcohol hangover is characterised by physical and psychological symptoms and contributes to the £6.4 billion that heavy drinking is estimated to cost the UK economy each year. Anxiety is one of the most aversive and frequently reported consequences of alcohol hangover. However, at present, little research has examined the effects of the phenomenon dubbed ‘hangxiety’, i.e., the increases in anxiety and low mood seen during hangover. Therefore, the true health and personal costs of alcohol hangover are not fully understood.

A small body of research has suggested an increase in low mood and self-reported anxiety during alcohol hangover but no studies have examined the effects of alcohol hangover on physiological or cognitive measures of anxiety or the role of individual differences in contributing to the anxiogenic response to alcohol hangover. Therefore the proposed research, using innovative human laboratory models of alcohol hangover and Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) methods will examine: (1) the effects of alcohol hangover on physiological, behavioural and cognitive measures of anxiety and mood; (2) the influence of individual differences in age, sex and alcohol consumption and pre-existing anxiety levels on the anxiogenic effects of alcohol hangover; and (3) the role of alcohol hangover in contributing to future alcohol consumption and anxiety.

This research aims to identify novel mechanisms underlying the relationship between alcohol consumption, hangover and anxiety, with the potential to find new therapeutic targets for interventions aimed at reducing alcohol consumption and/or anxiety. Additionally, this research will contribute to our understanding of the feasibility of using advanced quantitative methodology (e.g. physiological and computerised cognitive measures of anxiety, EMA and laboratory models) in the exploration of complex health behaviours such as alcohol hangover and anxiety. This project will address these aims in a series of naturalistic experimental studies in which the same individuals will be compared when experiencing versus not experiencing an alcohol hangover.

To be competitive, you should have a first class or high 2:1 (or equivalent) undergraduate degree in Psychology and/or a MSc in Psychology or Research Methods at merit or distinction level.

Please contact Dr Adams ( with a CV to express your interest in applying for this studentship and find out more about the project.

The application process has two stages: the first involves submitting a short research proposal (2-3 paragraphs), a CV, and degree transcripts to Dr Adams by 1st December. The second involves submitting a full application to the University of Bath by 21st January 2020. The successful applicant will be closely supported in developing a research proposal.  

For more information about the ESRC and URSA studentship competitions, please see here: 

Relevant Subject Areas 

Psychology & Psychiatry

Medical / Clinical Science

Neuroscience / Neurology

Pharmacology / Toxicology

Public Health & Epidemiology

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