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MOTHIBA, TM  and  MALEMA, RN. Perceptions of community members towards youth abusing alcohol in the Capricorn District of the Limpopo Province, South Africa. Curationis [online]. 2009, vol.32, n.4, pp.48-54. ISSN 2223-6279.

Alcohol abuse is a problem in South Africa and it has negative effects on the well-being of individuals, families, friends, work associates and neighbors. Alcohol produces both psychological and physical dependence. Gillies (1999:112) indicated that alcoholism usually interferes with the ability to socialize, work and may lead to much other destructive behaviour. It was further stated that people who are addicted to alcohol often have a low self-esteem, immaturity, are easily frustrated, and have difficulty in solving personal problems. This study investigated the perceptions of community members towards youth abusing alcohol and identified, among others, anti-social behavior, poor interpersonal relationships, family disorganization, poor integration with family members and physical damage as the major concerns. An attempt was also made to develop strategies that can be used to overcome the problems of alcohol abuse by youth. DESIGN AND METHOD: A qualitative, exploratory, descriptive and contextual research design was followed in this study for the participants to describe their perceptions regarding the phenomenon in question (Brink, 2006:113). Data were collected through individual unstructured interviews in one village of the Capricorn District of the Limpopo Province. The researchers employed the principles of Guba and Lincoln (1993) cited in De Vos (1998:331) relating to trustworthiness and adhered to the ethical standards as set by the Democratic Nurses Association of South Africa (DENOSA, 1998:2.3.2). FINDINGS: Five themes and seven categories emerged from the data analysis, using Tech's open coding approach (1990), as outlined in De Vos (1998:343), namely, antisocial behaviour, poor interpersonal behaviour, physical damage, poor progress in life processes and effects of alcohol on the body. To address the problem of alcohol abuse by youth in one village (the study area) of the Capricorn District in the Limpopo Province and other villages the study recommends that educational and recreational facilities and the formation of youth structures should be established.

Keywords : Perception; Alcohol abuse; Youth; Community; Behaviour.

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