Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Childhood IQ and life course socioeconomic position in relation to alcohol induced hangovers in adulthood: the Aberdeen children of the 1950s study
  1. G David Batty1,2,
  2. Ian J Deary2,
  3. Sally Macintyre1
  1. 1MRC Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
  2. 2Department of Psychology, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr G D Batty
 Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow, 4 Lilybank Gardens, Glasgow G12 8RZ, UK; david-b{at}


Objective: To examine the association between scores on IQ tests in childhood and alcohol induced hangovers in middle aged men and women.

Design, Setting, and Participants: A cohort of 12 150 people born in Aberdeen (Scotland) who took part in a school based survey in 1962 when IQ test scores were extracted from educational records. Between 2000 and 2003, 7184 (64%) responded to questionnaire inquiries regarding drinking behaviour.

Main outcome measures: Self reported hangovers attributable to alcohol consumption on two or more occasions per month.

Results: Higher IQ scores at 11 years of age were associated with a lower prevalence of hangovers in middle age (ORper one SD advantage in IQ score; 95% CI: 0.80; 0.72, 0.89). This relation was little affected by adjustment for childhood indicators of socioeconomic position (0.82; 0.74, 0.91) but was considerably attenuated after control for adult variables (fully adjusted model: 0.89; 0.79, 1.01).

Conclusions: Higher childhood IQ was related to a lower prevalence of alcohol induced hangovers in middle aged men and women. The IQ-hangover effect may at least partially explain the link between early life IQ and adult mortality. This being the first study to examine this relation, more evidence is required.

  • alcohol
  • binge drinking
  • hangover
  • IQ
  • socioeconomic position

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Conflicts of interest: none

Linked Articles

  • In this issue
    Carlos Alvarez-Dardet John R Ashton