Perceived Risk Associated with Ecstasy Use: A Latent Class Analysis Approach

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This study aims to define categories of perceived health problems among ecstasy users based on observed clustering of their perceptions of ecstasy-related health problems. Data from a community sample of ecstasy users (n=402) aged 18 to 30, in Ohio, was used in this study. Data was analyzed via Latent Class Analysis (LCA) and Regression. This study identified five different subgroups of ecstasy users based on their perceptions of health problems they associated with their ecstasy use. Almost one third of the sample (28.9%) belonged to a class with “low level of perceived problems” (Class 4). About one fourth (25.6%) of the sample (Class 2), had high probabilities of “perceiving problems on sexual-related items”, but generally low or moderate probabilities of perceiving problems in other areas. Roughly one-fifth of the sample (21.1%, Class 1) had moderate probabilities of perceiving ecstasy health-related problems in all areas. A small proportion of respondents (11.9%, Class 5) had high probabilities of reporting “perceived memory and cognitive problems, and of perceiving “ecstasy related-problems in all areas” (12.4%, Class 3). A large proportion of ecstasy users perceive either low or moderate risk associated with their ecstasy use. It is important to further investigate whether lower levels of risk perception are associated with persistence of ecstasy use.