Author's School

Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Author's Department/Program



English (en)

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Chair and Committee

Robert Parks


A Psycho-Economic Model of Ecstasy Consumption and Related Consequences: A Multi-Site Study with Community Samples By Arbi Ben Abdallah The consumption of mind-altering drugs is well recognized as a complex behavior entailing many different etiological precursors. To understand its complexity, drug use has to be considered from multiple perspectives. Over time, numerous theories have been advanced to explain drug use, the pattern of its use, and its related consequences. Because they approach such a behavior from slightly different vantage points, these theories offer unique explanations with different take on its genetic, physiological, psychological, and environment risk factors. A substantial body of research suggests that there exist multiple perspectives on psychological precursors to drug abuse; however, the same literature also implicates economic measures that can explain drug etiology. Economic models of consumption suggest that "market forces" adequately explain the use of drugs. Market forces alone are however necessary but not sufficient to account for drug consumption. Other factors that appear involved include psychological motivation and other intra-individual characteristics: i.e., depression and risk-taking) that also explain use and problems arising from drug use. Until now, the confluence of both economic and psychological theories has not been tested empirically. The present study used latent-variable Structural equation modeling to examine the influence of both economic: social anomie, monetary price, opportunity cost) and psychological risk factors: motivation, depression, and risk-taking) on self-reported Ecstasy use and its related consequences, referred to as dependence. Data used in this research were obtained from 640 recreational Ecstasy users between 2002 and 2005 in three sites in the United States and Australia participating in a NIDA-funded epidemiological study examining trends in club drug use. The sample was mainly Caucasian: 62%), male: 58%), and young [mean age =23years: SD=5.01)]. All the hypothesized latent constructs were statistically reliable and correlated in the expected direction. A Full "saturated" model indicated that, among the three key economic measures, monetary and opportunity cost, but not income, significantly predicted Ecstasy consumption. On the other hand, among the psychological measures, motivational cues were the strongest predictors of both consumption and dependence. Dependence was also impacted by depression and sex-risk. Inclusion of demographic measures: gender, age, race, and education) and site did not appreciably alter the final model parameters. Findings are discussed with regard to incorporating the role of economic and psychological factors in shaping a more refined understanding of Ecstasy consumption and its consequences.


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