Why do people use new psychoactive substances? Development of a new measurement tool in six European countries

Annemieke Benschop, Róbert Urbán, Máté Kapitány-Fövény, Marie Claire Van Hout, Katarzyna Dąbrowska, Katalin Felvinczi, Evelyn Hearne, Susana Henriques, Zsuzsa Kaló, Gerrit Kamphausen, Joana Paula Silva, Łukasz Wieczorek, Bernd Werse, Michal Bujalski, Dirk Korf, Zsolt Demetrovics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Introduction: New psychoactive substances (NPS) pose a public health threat. Many studies have tried to identify the reasons of NPS use; however, none of them have so far used any standardised measures. The aim of this study was (i) to develop and cross-culturally validate the New Psychoactive Substance Use Motives Measure (NPSMM) and (ii) to compare motives of NPS use across countries and user types. Methods: Three subgroups (socially marginalised users, nightlife attendees and members of online communities) of NPS users (N = 3023) were recruited from six EU member countries. Demographics, motives and types of NPS used were assessed. NPS use motives were measured by adapting the extended six-factor version of the Marijuana Motives Measure. Results: Exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis resulted in a similar five-factor solution across most of the countries: coping, enhancement, social, conformity and expansion motives. Marginalised users scored higher on coping and conformity motives, nightlife groups showed higher endorsement of social motive, whereas online community users showed higher scores on expansion motives. Various types of NPS were also associated with different motives. Conclusion: NPS use motives might be associated with both the groups of users and the specific types of NPS being consumed. Expansion (psychedelics) and enhancement (stimulants) motives seemed to be linked to the chosen NPS product type, while coping, social and conformity motives were rather associated with user groups. NPSMM was found to be a valid instrument to measure NPS motives.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Psychopharmacology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020



  • cross-national validation
  • measurement
  • motives of substance use
  • New psychoactive substances

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)

Cite this

Benschop, A., Urbán, R., Kapitány-Fövény, M., Van Hout, M. C., Dąbrowska, K., Felvinczi, K., Hearne, E., Henriques, S., Kaló, Z., Kamphausen, G., Silva, J. P., Wieczorek, Ł., Werse, B., Bujalski, M., Korf, D., & Demetrovics, Z. (Accepted/In press). Why do people use new psychoactive substances? Development of a new measurement tool in six European countries. Journal of Psychopharmacology. https://doi.org/10.1177/0269881120904951