Khat use and trait anger: effects on affect regulation during an acute stressful challenge

Eur Addict Res. 2011;17(6):285-91. doi: 10.1159/000330317. Epub 2011 Aug 23.


Khat (Catha edulis) is a widely used stimulating drug often consumed in daily routine in Yemen and East African countries. Chewing khat acutely elicits states of euphoria and feelings of well-being which later shift into emotional instability and low mood. Little is known about emotional regulation in habitual khat chewers. In this study, we compared self-reports on trait anger as well as positive and negative affect responses to a mental arithmetic challenge. Participants included 135 men and women from Yemen who chew khat regularly, occasionally or not at all. Participants attended a laboratory session that involved resting periods and performing a math challenge. Analyses of variance and regression show that regular khat chewing is associated with higher trait anger, more pronounced negative responses during stress and less pronounced positive emotional states. These results suggest that regular khat chewing is associated with disturbances in emotion regulation processes.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological / drug effects
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect / drug effects*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anger / drug effects*
  • Catha*
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / pharmacology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Personality Tests
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Leaves
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Young Adult


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Plant Extracts