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Worldwide, harmful alcohol use by college or university students is a public health concern. Many students in colleges and universities indulge in excessive alcohol use, which, in turn, adversely impacts on their health and diminishes opportunities to realise their full potentials. This study assessed the influence of self-efficacy on alcohol use among students at a university in Botswana. The study utilised data from a cross-sectional survey of 266 young adults (age=20.40; SD=20.10; 18-25) enrolled at a university in Botswana. Descriptive statistics, t-tests and regression analyses were performed to assess socio-demographic characteristics, sub-population differences, and the extent to which self-efficacy predicted alcohol use. Forty-six per cent of respondents (n=124) use alcohol, 40 per cent (n=49) of whom were hazardous users. Female students were younger, used less alcohol, and were more self-efficacious than their male peers. The female gender [β = 0.15, 95% (CI: 0.01, 0.28)] and the social [β = -0.24, 95% (CI: -0.45, -0.09)] and substance use [β = -0.35, 95% (CI: -0.45, -0.09)] domains of self-efficacy significantly and uniquely predicted alcohol use. University management and healthcare providers should target self-efficacy as a potential strategy to reduce alcohol abuse and enhance self-care among young adults. Self-efficacy as a strategy empowers young adults to manage their alcohol use better than an authoritarian model of managing alcohol abuse by employed by university authorities. The empowerment model shifts power to the young adults, thus enabling them to think critically, take control of their lives, creates awareness and allows them to make their own decisions based on health literacy and self-care behaviours.
Keywords: self-efficacy, alcohol use, students, Botswana