Coping style and ecstasy use motives as predictors of current mood symptoms in ecstasy users

Rebecca M Scott, Leanne Hides, J Sabura Allen, Dan I Lubman
Addictive Behaviors 2013, 38 (10): 2465-72

BACKGROUND: Elevated depressive and anxiety symptoms during childhood and adolescence have been associated with greater risk of later ecstasy use. Ecstasy users have reported using ecstasy to reduce depression or worry, or to escape. While these findings suggest that some people use ecstasy as a form of self-medication, limited research has been conducted examining the relationship between affective symptoms, coping styles and drug use motives in ecstasy users. This cross-sectional study aimed to determine if coping style and/or ecstasy use motives are associated with current mood symptoms in ecstasy users.

METHODS: A community sample (n=184) of 18-35 year olds who had taken ecstasy at least once in the past 12 months completed self-report measures of depression, anxiety, ecstasy use motives and coping styles. Timeline follow back methods were used to collect information on lifetime ecstasy, recent drug use and life stress. Trauma exposure was measured using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview-Trauma List.

RESULTS: Coping motives for ecstasy use and an emotion-focused coping style were significantly associated with current depressive and anxiety symptoms. Emotion-focused coping mediated the relationship between a history of trauma and current anxiety symptoms and moderated the relationship between recent stressful life events and current depressive symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings highlight the importance of interventions targeting motives for ecstasy use, and providing coping skills training for managing stressful life events among people with co-occurring depressive/anxiety symptoms and ecstasy use.

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