Individual differences in drug abuse vulnerability: d-amphetamine and sensation-seeking status

Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2006 Nov;189(1):17-25. doi: 10.1007/s00213-006-0487-z. Epub 2006 Sep 14.


Rationale: While the personality dimensions of novelty seeking and sensation seeking are associated with drug abuse vulnerability, the mechanisms associated with this vulnerability remain obscure.

Objective: This study examined the behavioral effects of d-amphetamine in healthy volunteers scoring in the upper and lower quartiles based on age- and gender-adjusted population norms on the impulsive Sensation-Seeking Scale (SSS) of the Zuckerman-Kuhlman personality questionnaire (ZKPQ).

Method: Participants completed 7-day outpatient studies examining the subjective, performance, and cardiovascular effects of d-amphetamine (0, 7.5, and 15 mg/70 kg, p.o.) under double-blind conditions according to a randomized block design. Performance tasks included behavioral measures of impulsivity, including attention, inhibition, and risk-taking behavior.

Results: No differences in baseline performance or d-amphetamine effects on measures of attention, inhibition, and risk-taking behavior were observed. High impulsive sensation seekers reported greater increases on several subjective report measures associated with drug abuse potential, including visual analog scales feel drug, like drug, and high.

Conclusions: Healthy adults scoring in the top quartile on the population of the impulsive SSS of the ZKPQ may be vulnerable to the abuse potential of d-amphetamine.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amphetamine / pharmacology*
  • Amphetamine-Related Disorders / psychology*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attention / drug effects
  • Behavior, Addictive*
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / pharmacology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Exploratory Behavior / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Inhibition, Psychological
  • Male
  • Reference Values
  • Reinforcement, Psychology
  • Risk-Taking
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Amphetamine