Adolescent alcohol use in rural South African high schools

  • H Onya
  • A Tessera
  • B Myers
  • A Flisher
Keywords: Adolescents, Alcohol use, Rural High Schools, South Africa


Objective: To examine psychosocial correlates of lifetime alcohol use among adolescents in rural South African high schools.
Method: Questionnaires were administered to 1600 students from 20 randomly selected high schools in the Mankweng district within Limpopo province. Self-report data on alcohol use, demographic, environmental and psychosocial variables were collected.
Results: About 22% of the students had ever used alcohol. Males were 2.4 times more likely to use alcohol than females. For students who attended religious services, the odds of ever having used alcohol were double those of students who did not attend religious services. The fitted logistic regression model shows that gender, age, ever having smoked a cigarette, ever damaged property, walking home alone at night, easy availability of alcohol, thinking alcohol use was wrong, attending religious services
and number of friends who used alcohol are the best predictors of alcohol use among high school students in this setting.
Conclusion: The results underline the importance of addressing personal, family, peer and school conduct factors as part of alcohol education initiatives. Efforts to prevent alcohol use among rural high school students should focus on changing drinking behaviour and on reducing risk factors for problem drinking.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1994-8220