Neuroticism is associated with challenging experiences with psilocybin mushrooms

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Objectives Classic hallucinogens (e.g. psilocybin and LSD) have substantial effects on perception, cognition, and emotion that can often be psychologically challenging, however we know very little regarding the source of significant individual variability that has been observed in the frequency and intensity of challenging experiences (i.e. “bad trips”) with psychedelics. Previous clinical and observational literature suggests that there may be an association between neuroticism and challenging psychedelic experiences. Methods Data from two online surveys of challenging experiences with psilocybin were analyzed. Multivariate analysis was used to estimate the associations between total score and scores from seven sub-factors (fear, grief, physical distress, insanity, isolation, death, and paranoia) of the Challenging Experience Questionnaire (CEQ), and scale scores from the Ten Item Personality Inventory (TIPI) in Study 1 (N = 1993) and the Big Five Inventory (BFI) in Study 2 (N = 981). Results CEQ scores were negatively associated with emotional stability scores (the inverse of neuroticism) in Study 1 and positively associated with neuroticism scores in Study 2. Conclusions Neuroticism may contribute to the strength of challenging experiences with psychedelics in uncontrolled settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-160
Number of pages6
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
StatePublished - Oct 15 2017


  • Bad trips
  • Challenging experiences
  • Hallucinogen
  • Individual differences
  • Neuroticism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Neuroticism is associated with challenging experiences with psilocybin mushrooms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this