Individual vulnerability to drug addiction may be an important factor in the prognosis of this pathological behavior in man. However, experimental investigations have largely neglected the psychobiological substrate of predisposition to addiction. In this study, we show using a self-administration (SA) acquisition paradigm that previous repeated exposure to a stressful experience (tail-pinch) or to amphetamine, increase the locomotor response to this drug (behavioral sensitization) and enhance vulnerability to acquire amphetamine SA. These results show that vulnerability to develop amphetamine SA may be influenced by stressful experiences, and that previous contact with the drug may enhance a predisposition to amphetamine-taking behavior. As tail-pinch and amphetamine sensitization affect both the dopamine (DA) neural system and the propensity to self-administer amphetamine (behavior also modulated by DA activity), stress may influence SA via an action on the DA system.