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Self-control as a predictor of drug use: A study with university students in Botswana

Lisa Naledi Fraser
Ilse Elisabeth Platner


The study examined the relatonship between self-control and drug use among university students in Botswana. Bandura’s social cognitve theory of self-regulaton provided the theoretcal framework for the study. Among the 269 partcipants with a mean age of 20.9 years (SD = 1.8), 72.9% were female and 27.1% were male. Instruments employed were the Brief Self-control Scale and the Drug Abuse Screening Test. Drug users had signifcantly lower self-control scores than non-drug users (t = 4.57, p = 0.000). Levels of drug use were negatvely associated with self-control (r = -0.33, p = 0.006). Partcipants who had stopped using drugs had signifcantly higher self-control scores (t = 2.38, p = 0.020). Low self-control, male gender and higher level of studies explained between 16.9% (Cox & Snell) and 29.9% (Nagelkerke) of the variaton in whether or not students had used drugs, with self-control having the strongest predictve ability (p = 0.001). The results of this study imply that self-control does play a pertnent role in whether or not young people engage in drug use. The results are discussed with regard to drug use preventon and treatment strategies that should equip young people with skills and techniques in self-control to protect them against drug use and abuse.

Keywords: Botswana, drug use, gender, self-control, self-regulaton, university students