One hundred eighty three volunteers with ages 21-70 years joined in this study. Meanwhile, low-dose psychedelic users were excluded in their study for low dosage can hardly induce spiritual ecstasy (Lerner and Lyvers, 2006). In addition, psychedelic substance like psilocybin mushroom and LSD, nowadays, are typically used in rave parties to increase visual and music sensitivities (Lerner and Lyvers, 2006). Thus, the “psychedelic” term was exclusively applied for substances used for mystical experiences (Lerner and Lyvers, 2006).
The recruitment of the respondents was done in the different areas of Australia and Israel with countercultural and drug-user population members (Lerner and Lyvers, 2006). Then, interested individuals were given a set of questionnaires with a stamped envelope. The respondents were categorized into psychedelic users, non-users, and illegal-drug users based from the returned set of questionnaires (Lerner and Lyvers, 2006). The evaluation of the gender and age of the participants showed that there were more males in the psychedelic group while the illegal-drug group and non-user group were dominated by females (Lerner and Lyvers, 2006).
Generally, the illegal-drug users were younger than the non-user and psychedelic user groups (Lerner and Lyvers, 2006). Materials The Drug Use Questionnaire was utilized for the assessment of substance abuse history as well as socio-demographic characteristics of the respondents (Lerner and Lyvers, 2006). At the end of the questionnaire, qualitative questions were included for the substance-use categorization of the respondents (Lerner and Lyvers, 2006). Nine items on the Life Values Inventory were adapted with respect to cultural considerations to appropriately fit it with the goal of the study (Lerner and Lyvers, 2006).
On the other hand, the measurement of the respondent’s sensitivity towards others’ emotions was done by means of Emotional Emphatic Tendency Scale (Lerner and Lyvers, 2006). The thirty-three items in this instrument were rated based on a five-point Likert scale (Lerner and Lyvers, 2006). The Mystical Beliefs Questionnaire, MBQ, was developed through the Peak Experience Profile instrument (Lerner and Lyvers, 2006). The MBQ was consisted of twenty one items rated through a five-point Likert scale. Also, the MBQ exhibited a strong internal consistency with the Cronbach’s alpha coefficient of 0.94 (Lerner and Lyvers, 2006).
Nonetheless, the determination of subjective coping ability was done by means of the Sense of Coherence Scale wherein its twenty nine items were rated using a seven-point Likert scale (Lerner and Lyvers, 2006). The researchers for this study expected the psychedelic users to gain high scores in this instrument because of the perceived spiritual transcendence (Lerner and Lyvers, 2006). Results Mystical Beliefs There was no significant difference on MBQ scores among the group of Australian and Israeli participants Lerner and Lyvers, 2006).
As inferred by the researchers, the psychedelic group has higher MBQ scores as compared with the other two groups (Lerner and Lyvers, 2006). Life Values The multivariate analysis of covariance revealed that life values are affected by nationality (Lerner and Lyvers, 2006). As such, the Israeli respondents scored higher on belonging, humility, and loyalty than the Australians. Further, the pairwise comparison showed that psychedelic users have higher scores on concern for others and for the environment, spirituality, and creativity but lower on financial prosperity (Lerner and Lyvers, 2006).
Empathy Generally, females and the psychedelic group have higher scores on emotional empathy while nationality indicated no significant effect on emotional scores (Lerner and Lyvers, 2006). Coping Mechanism Both psychedelic and non-user groups scored significantly higher in sense of coherence instrument than illegal-drug group (Lerner and Lyvers, 2006). Also, nationality has no significant effect on coping ability.
Lerner, M. and Lyvers, M. (2006). Values and Beliefs of Psychedelic Drug Users: A Cross-Cultural Study. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 38(2), 143-148.