A psycho-economic model of ecstasy consumption and related consequences: A multi-site study with community samples

Arbi Ben Abdallah, Lawrence M. Scheier, James A. Inciardi, Jan Copeland, Linda B. Cottler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Becker and Murphy's (1988) theory of rational behavior suggests that economic factors play an influential role in the decision leading to drug consumption and possibly dependence. Psychological models, on the other hand, emphasize internal regulatory cues that motivate drug use and play a contributory role in dependence. Until now, the confluence of both economic and psychological models has not been tested empirically. The present study used latent-variable structural equation modeling (SEM) to examine the influence of both economic (social anomie, unit price, and time spent acquiring drugs) and psychological risk factors (motivation, depression, and sexual risk behaviors) on self-reported ecstasy use. Data were obtained from 612 recreational ecstasy users in the United States and Australia participating in a NIDA-funded epidemiological study examining trends in ecstasy use. The sample was mainly white (61%), male (58%), and young (mean age = 23yrs [5.25]). All of the hypothesized latent constructs were statistically reliable and correlated in the expected direction. A saturated SEM indicated that monetary and opportunity cost, but not income, significantly predicted ecstasy use. Among the psychological measures, motivational cues were the strongest predictor of both use and dependence. Inclusion of gender, age, race, education, and site variables did not appreciably alter the final model parameters. The implications of incorporating the role of economic factors in shaping a more refined understanding of addiction are discussed. Suggestions for future research and study limitations are also noted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1651-1684
Number of pages34
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Issue number11
StatePublished - Sep 2007


  • Decision tree
  • Ecstasy
  • Expectancy
  • MDMA
  • Psycho-economic model
  • Rational addiction
  • Structural equation modeling


Dive into the research topics of 'A psycho-economic model of ecstasy consumption and related consequences: A multi-site study with community samples'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this