African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine
On-line version ISSN 2071-2936
Print version ISSN 2071-2928
CHAUKE, Thembisile M.; VAN DER HEEVER, Hendry and HOQUE, Muhammad E.. Alcohol use amongst learners in rural high school in South Africa. Afr. j. prim. health care fam. med. (Online) [online]. 2015, vol.7, n.1, pp.1-6. ISSN 2071-2936. http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/PHCFM.V7I1.755.
BACKGROUND: Drinking behaviour by adolescents is a significant public health challenge nationally and internationally. Alcohol use has serious challenges that continue to deprive adolescents of their normal child growth and development. Drinking is associated with dangers that include fighting, crime, unintentional accidents, unprotected sex, violence and others. AIM: The aim of the study is to investigate drinking patterns, and factors contributing to drinking, amongst secondary school learners in South Africa. METHOD: The sample included 177 male (46.6%) and 206 female (53.4%) respondents in the age range from 15-23 years, selected by stratified random sampling. RESULTS: The results indicated that 35.5% of male and 29.7% of female respondents used alcohol. Both male and female respondents consumed six or more alcohol units (binge drinking) within 30 days; on one occasion the consumption was 17.5% and 15.9% respectively. It was found that alcohol consumption increases with age, 32.2% of 15-17 year-olds and 53.2% of 18-20 year-olds consumed different types of alcohol. It was deduced that 28.9% respondents reported that one of the adults at home drank alcohol regularly, and 9.3% reported that both their parents drank alcohol daily. It was found that 27.6% of the respondents agreed that friends made them conform to drinking. The tenth and eleventh grade reported 15.2% of male and 13.9% of female respondents were aware that alcohol can be addictive. CONCLUSION: This study found that age, gender, parental alcohol use and peer pressure were found to be the major contributing factors to alcohol use amongst learners Prevention campaigns such as introducing the harmful effects of alcohol use amongst learners are of utmost importance in reducing alcohol use amongst learners in South Africa.