The drug effects questionnaire: psychometric support across three drug types

Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2013 May;227(1):177-92. doi: 10.1007/s00213-012-2954-z. Epub 2012 Dec 28.


Rationale: The Drug Effects Questionnaire (DEQ) is widely used in studies of acute subjective response (SR) to a variety of substances, but the format of the DEQ varies widely across studies, and details of its psychometric properties are lacking. Thus, the field would benefit from demonstrating the reliability and validity of the DEQ for use across multiple substances.

Objective: The current study evaluated the psychometric properties of several variations of DEQ items, which assessed the extent to which participants (1) feel any substance effect(s), (2) feel high, (3) like the effects, (4) dislike the effects, and (5) want more of the substance using 100-mm visual analog scales.

Methods: DEQ data from three placebo-controlled studies were analyzed to examine SR to amphetamine, nicotine, and alcohol. We evaluated the internal structure of the DEQ for use with each substance as well as relationships between scale items, measures of similar constructs, and substance-related behaviors.

Results: Results provided preliminary psychometric support for items assessing each DEQ construct (feel, high, dislike, like, and more).

Conclusions: Based on the study results, we identify several common limitations of extant variants of the DEQ and recommend an improved version of the measure. The simplicity and brevity of the DEQ combined with its promising psychometric properties support its use in future SR research across a variety of substances.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amphetamine / administration & dosage*
  • Amphetamine / classification
  • Databases, Factual / standards
  • Ethanol / administration & dosage*
  • Ethanol / classification
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nicotine / administration & dosage*
  • Nicotine / classification
  • Psychometrics
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*
  • Young Adult


  • Ethanol
  • Nicotine
  • Amphetamine