Anna Powell

School of Psychology

PhD researcher interested in cognitive function in alcohol use and alcohol dependence, and the recovery and predictability of cognitive impairments in alcohol dependence. The first study of my PhD involved recruiting 675 adults who drink to take part in an online survey, comparing subjective executive function across hazardous and non-hazardous dependent drinking. Analyses included a MANCOVA and hierarchical regression, finding that 1) hazardous drinkers reported significantly poorer executive function than non-hazardous drinkers, and 2) the relationship between alcohol use and alcohol-related problems was partially mediated by the association between alcohol use and subjective executive function. This study provides support for the notion that executive function varies across drinking levels, and highlights a potentially vulnerable population with regards to experiencing alcohol-related harm, and a potential mechanism that contributes to this.

I aim to continue my work in this area by building on a pilot study I completed for my MSc, by using a novel cortical metric device to assess and track recovery of cognitive function in participants with alcohol dependence during five time points across rehabilitation (and compare this with control data collected at one time-point). This project intends to develop cognitive and neurocognitive biomarkers for recovery from alcohol dependence. The pilot study assessed 28 patients measured at the start and end of initial residential detox, and provided preliminary support for the use of such novel cortical metric assessments within this cohort, as it highlighted certain changes across this early treatment period. A larger study over a longer time-period is now necessary, which the next step of my PhD is intended to be.


2018, Liverpool John Moores University, United Kingdom, MSc Health Psychology (Distinction)
2015, Bangor University, United Kingdom, BSc Psychology (First-class Hons)

Academic appointments

Online Teaching Assistant, School of Psychology, Liverpool John Moores University, 2020 - present
Research Project Support Officer, Psychology, Bangor University, 2016 - 2017
Research Intern, Psychology, Bangor University, 2014 - 2015


Powell A. 2023. Alcohol use and cognition: Processing speed and subjective executive function deficits across the spectrum of drinking behaviours Montgomery C, Sumnall H, Owens L, Kullu C. Public Url

Journal article

Powell A, Sumnall H, Montgomery C. 2023. Younger, drunk, and fast: Paradoxical rapid reaction time in hazardous drinkers. Journal of psychopharmacology (Oxford, England), :2698811231177216 DOI Author Url Publisher Url Public Url

Powell A, Sumnall H, Smith J, Kuiper R, Montgomery C. 2022. Recovery of neuropsychological function following abstinence from alcohol in adults diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder: Protocol for a systematic review of longitudinal studies PLoS One, 17 DOI Author Url Publisher Url Public Url

Powell AK, Sumnall H, Kullu C, Owens L, Montgomery C. 2021. Subjective executive function deficits in hazardous alcohol drinkers. Journal of Psychopharmacology, DOI Author Url Publisher Url Public Url

Powell A, Tommerdahl M, Abbasi Y, Sumnall H, Montgomery C. 2021. A pilot study assessing the brain gauge as an indicator of cognitive recovery in alcohol dependence Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental, 36 DOI Author Url Publisher Url Public Url