n Child Abuse Research in South Africa - Attitudes of public school learners to under-age drinking and illegal substance abuse : a threat to social stability?

Volume 6, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1562-1383



Substance abuse and dependence are considered critical problems facing South Africa. An apparent increase in substance abuse among adolescents is cause for concern in view of the negative consequences of substance abuse and dependence: e.g., involvement in crime and other antisocial activities, impairment of academic and occupational performance, as well as an increased risk of suicide, accidents, contagious diseases and psychological distress. The most important interpersonal variables mentioned in the literature pertaining to substance abuse include peer groups (and more specifically the need to be accepted during adolescence), parental and family-related factors (e.g., modelling, communication and conflict), and environmental factors. A structured survey questionnaire was prepared by the researchers to identify the extent of under-age drinking and substance abuse by young persons in public schools. A non-probability sample was compiled by means of the convenience sampling technique, consisting of Grade 7, 10 and 11 learners from 35 primary and secondary schools in the N-3 district in Tshwane (now District 4 B Tshwane South), who successfully completed a total of 2 003 questionnaires. The major objectives of the study were to identify key concerns regarding under-age drinking and the use of illegal drugs in schools, and to make information available to legitimate and interested stakeholders for the development of problem-solving strategies.

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