Opening to Awe: Psychedelic‐Assisted Self‐Transcendence and Positive Adult Development

Recent studies implicate the use of psychedelic substances in the treatment of psychiatric conditions. However, this literature also suggests that the psychedelics may have utility in the promotion of positive adult development. Accordingly, this paper outlines a study exploring this premise. An online sample (n=684) of psychedelic users and non-users (age range: 18–24 to 75–84; median=25–34) was recruited. Conditional process analysis was used to assess whether the relationship between psychedelic use and two facets of adult development, adjustment and growth, would be mediated by openness to experience, awe-proneness, and mystical experiences, and whether these relationships would be moderated by drug-use reflection/integration. Results show that the direct relationship between psychedelic use and growth was moderated by drug-use reflection/integration. In addition, the indirect relationship between psychedelic use and adjustment was mediated through awe-proneness, while the indirect relationships between psychedelic use and growth were mediated via awe- proneness and openness to experience; drug-use reflection/integration moderated these mediated relationships. In addition, drug-use reflection/integration directly predicted openness, awe-proneness, and growth. These findings suggest that, when used with self-expansive intentions and actively refected upon and integrated post use, psychedelics may augment positive adult development.