The role of alcohol abstinence self-efficacy in alcohol use: a cross-sectional survey of Ghanaian undergraduate students
There is an increasing awareness of indiscriminate alcohol use among University students worldwide. Self-efficacy to abstain from alcohol use plays a significant role in the abstinence of alcohol use by perceiving less benefits (pros) and more costs (cons) of alcohol use. However, not much is known about self-efficacy to abstain from alcohol use in relation to the pros and cons of alcohol use among Ghanaian university students. The aim of this study was to examine the role of alcohol abstinence self-efficacy in the pros and cons of alcohol use in Ghanaian university students. Participants consisted of 215 undergraduate students with a mean age of 23.5 years who completed self-report measures assessing alcohol abstinence self-efficacy and pros and cons of alcohol use. Thirty nine percent of students had never used alcohol. Adjusting for age, gender, and residence status, results of a one-way MANCOVA showed significant main effect of alcohol abstinence self-efficacy on both pros (p < 0.001) and cons (p < 0.001) of alcohol use, although the effect was stronger in cons ( Ƞ2p = 0.26) than pros ( Ƞ2p = 0.18) of alcohol use. Independent-samples t-test results showed that students classified under high (M = 11.12, SD = 11.02) alcohol abstinence self-efficacy reported more pros than those classified under low (M = 1.68, SD = 3.58) alcohol abstinence self-efficacy, t(122.25) = -8.22, p < 0.001). Similarly, those classified under high (M = 11.12, SD = 12.17) alcohol abstinence self-efficacy reported more cons than those classified under low (M = 2.03, SD = 6.66) alcohol abstinence self-efficacy, t(154.58) = -6.59, p < 0.001). Finally, while there were no gender differences in cons of alcohol use, males (M = 8.8, SD = 10.06) reported significantly higher than females (M = 4.61, SD = 8.24) on pros of alcohol use, t(209) = 2.74, p < 0.01). These findings provide preliminary evidence for the viability of reinforcing self-efficacy, particularly relating to abstinence, as a strategy to encourage abstinence from alcohol use and subsequently prevent harmful use of alcohol in Ghanaian university students.
Keywords: Alcohol abstinence, alcohol use, self-efficacy, decisional balance, pros and cons of alcohol use, Ghana