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Differential experiences of the psychobiological sequelae of ecstasy use: Quantitative and qualitative data from an internet study

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Jacqueline Rodgers


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Previous work provided preliminary evidence that different patterns of use among ecstasy users may impact on perceived side-effects. Participants recruited via an ecstasy-related bulletin board differed in their responses compared to those recruited via other means. The present investigation compares self-reports of psychobiological difficulties among ecstasy users recruited either via a bulletin board or by alternative methods. Qualitative data included reports of any negative or positive changes attributable to ecstasy use and reasons for cessation of use. An Internet-based design was utilized and 209 volunteers completed the study, 117 of whom were recruited via a bulletin board devoted to discussion of ecstasy. Psychobiological difficulties attributable to ecstasy use varied, with mood fluctuation the most common. Differences between the two groups in the extent to which these problems were reported was found. Bulletin board recruits were less likely to report anxiety or poor concentration, but more likely to report tremors/twitches. For the whole sample, lifetime use was associated more with psychobiologial problems, although this pattern was stronger and more pervasive for the non-bulletin board participants. Bulletin board recruits were more aware of possible negative psychological effects and were more likely to report adopting harm reduction strategies. From the qualitative data three negative consequences of use were identified, the most common of which was 'psychological problems'. In support of the quantitative findings the likelihood of reporting psychological problems increased with lifetime exposure to ecstasy in both recruitment conditions but interestingly this did not appear to impact on reasons for cessation of use. Participants also reported a number of effects that they regarded as beneficial. Future research should also take these aspects of use into account. © 2006 British Association for Psychopharmacology.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Rodgers J, Buchanan T, Pearson C, Parrott AC, Ling J, Heffernan T, Scholey AB

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Psychopharmacology

Year: 2006

Volume: 20

Issue: 3

Pages: 437-446

ISSN (print): 0269-8811

ISSN (electronic): 1461-7285

Publisher: Sage


DOI: 10.1177/0269881105058777

PubMed id: 16174668


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