African Journal for Physical Activity and Health Sciences

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Am I supporting his addiction: The dilemma of having an adolescent son on drugs

G.T. Tshweneagae, M.P. Mzolo, S. Sibanda


Substance misuse in urban and peri-urban areas is a serious problem among adolescents and is associated with negative individual and social consequences. While plenty of information exists in the literature on causes and consequences of drug abuse among adolescents; very few studies have focused on family support for adolescents after rehabilitation. The purpose of this study was to explore how parents and guardians support their adolescent sons a year after rehabilitation from drug abuse. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with ten (10) families who had sons with drug use problems and had been admitted at the rehabilitation centre. Participants were selected by purposive sampling. Thematic analysis of data was used to identify the themes. The findings of this study challenges prior studies that parents of adolescents on substances are better placed to assist with the post-rehabilitation of their adolescent sons. Two major themes of associative stigma and approach-avoidance conflict confirm the reality that parents of adolescent sons are faced with a dilemma of the need to protect their sons and the knowledge that the use of drugs is harmful. The study concluded that parents are faced with ambivalent feelings in relation to offering support to their sons. Culturally congruent measures are needed to address drug use and misuse among adolescents. Further studies are needed to explore the use of drugs among adolescents especially in South Africa where there is paucity of information.

Keywords: Addiction, adolescents, drug rehabilitation, drug use, post rehabilitation support dilemma, South Africa.

AJOL African Journals Online