Personality dimensions and psychopathological profiles of Ecstasy users

Giuliana Dughiero, Fabrizio Schifano, Giovanni Forza

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56 Citations (Scopus)


Only limited information is available with respect to personality traits and the psychopathological characteristics of Ecstasy users. To shed some light on the issue, we compared a group of 43 Ecstasy consumers (made up of both 'experimenters', those who took ≤27.5 tablets in their lifetime, and 'abusers', those who took larger amounts of the drug) with a composite control group of 77 subjects (made up of drug-free people, cannabis users and users of illicit drugs other than Ecstasy). Three instruments were used: the Questionnaire for the Assessment of the Use of Entactogenic Drugs (to assess modalities and characteristics of Ecstasy use); the Cloninger Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire (which measures harm avoidance, reward dependence and novelty seeking) and the SCL-90 (which measures 10 different psychiatric variables). The Ecstasy consumer group subjects showed higher novelty seeking scores than the controls (p < 0.001), and Ecstasy experimenters showed lower harm avoidance scores than the abusers (p = 0.029), but values of both reward dependence and harm avoidance dimensions were associated with sex. On the SCL-90. Ecstasy users showed higher scores than the controls on the obsession-compulsion (p = 0.004), phobic anxiety (p = 0.037), psychoticism (p = 0.005) and sleep disturbances (p = 0.046) subscales. However, many of the SCL-90 subscale results were associated with sex, and only the psychoticism values seemed to suggest a clinical condition. The main finding of this study is that high novelty seeking scores are characteristic of Ecstasy consumers: The propensity to look selectively for novelties could possibly act as a predisposing factor for Ecstasy abuse itself.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)635-639
Number of pages5
JournalHuman Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Drug prevention
  • Ecstasy
  • MDMA
  • SCL-90
  • TPQ


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