n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - An exploration of lifestyle theory as pertaining to the use of illegal drugs by young persons at risk in informal settlements in South Africa

Volume 2015 Number sed-3
  • ISSN : 1012-8093


An international increase in substance use amongst young people also finds resonance in South Africa. In this study, conducted amongst a non-random sample of young people living in informal settings in South Africa, the basic tenants of Lifestyle Exposure Theory and substance use interaction were explored. Lifestyle Theory supports the notion that crime will occur when there is a concurrence of the spatio-temporal organisation of precipitating criminogenic activities, such as exposure to substance use by young persons at risk. Lifestyle Theory provides an alternative understanding of the context of drug use and addiction. Lifestyle Theory perceives "conditions" underlying substance use and addiction as influences that limit a person's life options. The findings of this study confirm the premises of the Lifestyle Theory and identified the need for further research into substance use within deprived communities, in order to make a real difference in intervention efforts. Lifestyle Theory illustrates the context-specific vulnerability of at-risk youths that make them disproportionally susceptible to involvement with the drug subculture.

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