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  • Author or Editor: Terence H. W. Ching x
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The road to the current psychedelic renaissance in research on ±3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) – the active ingredient of the drug Ecstasy – for addressing treatment-resistant post-traumatic stress disorder has been fraught with political and academic bias, as well as cultural stigma among underserved populations, all of which serve as barriers to minority inclusion and participation. In this open letter to ethnic/racial and sexual/gender minorities, the author details intersectional insights from his own experience being administered MDMA legally as part of a therapist training trial for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, in hopes of radically destigmatizing this treatment approach for marginalized populations. Themes covered include: set and setting; cultural pride; LGBTQIA+ pride; acceptance of intersectionality; and patience, perspective, and strength in retrospection. This letter concludes by tasking current investigators of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy to emphasize issues of intersecting identities (e.g., in terms of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender identity) in their research agenda, attempt to improve minority participation in a culturally attuned manner, as well as increase minority stakeholdership in this field.

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Background and aims

The addictive nature of compulsive buying implies that mood disturbances, stress, and cognitive biases that underlie compulsive buying might operate in ways similar in both genders. In the current study, we aimed to test hypothetical pathways of mood compensation and irrational cognitions, which may explain compulsive buying tendencies. We also examined potential gender differences in these pathways.

Methods

Two-hundred and thirty-two male (age: M = 20.30, SD = 1.74) and 373 female Chinese college students (age: M = 19.97, SD = 1.74) in Hong Kong and Macau completed measures assessing compulsive buying, psychological distress, avoidance coping, materialism, and buying-related cognitions. Mediation analyses via a structural equation modeling approach explained by Cheung (2007, 2009) were conducted, with gender as a grouping variable.

Results

There was a gender difference in the mood compensation pathway; avoidance coping partially mediated the link between psychological distress and compulsive buying severity in females only. On the other hand, the irrational cognitive pathway, in which irrational buying-related cognitions fully mediated the link between materialism and compulsive buying severity, was supported for both genders. There was no gender difference in the extent of mediation within the irrational cognitive pathway, and the mediation effect within the irrational cognitive pathway was larger than that within the mood compensation pathway for both genders.

Conclusions

Mood compensation processes in compulsive buying might be female specific, and secondary to irrational cognitions, which were gender invariant. Gender-dependent mechanisms and irrational cognitions should be emphasized in compulsive buying treatment.

Open access