Perceived effects of MDMA (Ecstasy) use: a factor analytic study of users' self-reports

M. Wareing, P. Murphy, J. Fisk

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Objective: To explore MDMA users’ beliefs concerning the effects of the drug on their lives. Design: A self-completion questionnaire administered in hard copy and through the internet. Methods: The questionnaire comprised 15 scales covering possible effects of using MDMA, and questions covering behaviours associated with its consumption and demographic variables. There were 328 respondents with a mean age of 22.5 years (SD=4.9 years) and a mean of 3.3 years of MDMA use (SD=2.7 years). Analysis: Data from the 15 effects of use scales were subjected to a principal components analysis followed by a varimax rotation, yielding three factors. Factor 1 (23.8 per cent of the variance) was concerned with negative effects of MDMA use (e.g. paranoia). Factor 2 ( 22.0 per cent of the variance) was concerned with positive effects in personal and social domains (e.g. happiness). Factor 3 (10.5 per cent of the variance) was concerned with positive functional effects (e.g. alertness). Factor 1 scores narrowly failed to correlate positively with duration of MDMA, whilst Factors 2 and 3 were highly negatively correlated with duration. Computed scores reflecting overall positive and negative effects indicated a highly significant reduction in positive effects with increasing duration of use, although 57.6 per cent of respondents still rated the overall effects positively. Conclusions: MDMA users generally perceive some serious negative effects to be associated with their use of the drug, but appear to weigh these against positive effects. An understanding of this ‘weighing’ process is likely to have important implications for health education and therapeutic interventions with MDMA users.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2004
EventBritish Psychological Society (BPS) Annual Conference - London, United Kingdom
Duration: 1 Apr 2004 → …


ConferenceBritish Psychological Society (BPS) Annual Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Period1/04/04 → …


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