Topic: impact of alcohol abuse amongst secondary school learners at Xigalo community
Alcohol abuse amongst secondary school learners is recognised as one of the greatest challenges all over the world. In South Africa, alcohol abuse has long been recognised as a major health and social problem of a democratic South Africa. Alcohol abuse among secondary school learners remains a persistent problem across the world today (Boyd, Howard, & Zucker, 2013). It has become so worrisome that it has gained prominence in social discourse (Scott-Sheldon et al, 2014).
Folawiyo (2000) stated that alcohol abuse does not regarded as a drug, which it actually is. Alcohol abuse creates massively more social, economic and moral problems than the several illegal drugs combined. Alcohol abuse amongst learners in secondary schools both males and females is a common and global problem and often leads negative consequences. Researchers conducted on alcohol abuse among learners have shown that there several negative consequences that come with alcohol abuse.
World Health Organisation (2014) report, stated that alcohol abuse is one of the world’s leading health risks. It is a contributory factor in more than 60 major types of diseases and injuries and results in approximately 2.5 million deaths per year. The harmful abuse of alcohol is especially fatal for younger age groups and alcohol abuse is the world’s leading risk factor for death among males aged 15–59. Approximately 4.5% of the global problem of disease and injury is attributable to alcohol. Alcohol consumption is estimated to cause from 20% to 50% of cirrhosis of the liver, epilepsy, poisonings, road traffic accidents, violence and several types of cancer. It is the third highest risk for disease and disability, after childhood underweight and unsafe sex. Alcohol abuse contributes to traumatic outcomes that kill or disable people at a relatively young age, resulting in the loss of many years of life to death and disability.
According to Teens Health (2011), indicated that alcohol abuse reduces the function of the central nervous system (the spinal cord and the brain). Moreover, it inhibits the flow of messages to the brain. Alcohol abuse causes changes in the brain resulting in intoxication. Drinking promotes amnesia, poor decision making (NIAA, 2004). Adam et al (2000) stress that the most common harms of alcohol abuse on learners were memory loss and feeling sorry, guilty or embarrassed about actions while drinking they further stressed that learners have difficulties in coping with societal demands.
In South Africa, as in other countries, the alcohol initiation age has reduced significantly. The review about prevalence data from five national surveys, which were collected over 12 years in South Africa, supports the mode that binge drinking amongst youth aged 15-24 years increased between 1998–2005 from 29% to 31%. Recent studies reported high level of alcohol use amongst adolescents and high school learners in South Africa. Many studies have reported on alcohol use amongst high school learners in South Africa.
According to the study by Chauke et al (2015), the prevalence on their study of alcohol abuse amongst learners in rural high school in South Africa indicate that 35.5% of male and 29.7% of female respondents used alcohol. Both male and female respondents consumed six or more alcohol units (binge drinking) within 30 days; on one occasion the consumption was 17.5% and 15.9% respectively. Moreover, stated that alcohol consumption increases with age, 32.2% of 15–17 years old and 53.2% of 18–20 years old consumed different types of alcohol. Therefore, the aim of this study will be to explore the impact of alcohol abuse amongst secondary school learners at Xigalo community.
OPERATIONA DEFINITION OF CONCEPTS
According to Maroba (1997) abuse of alcohol is defined as continual use for reasons other than medical purposes. Solomon (1995) points out that abuse of alcohol is the use to a degree that causes physical, social or intellectual harm or with a view to conceptual functioning and behaviour that harass others.
Abuse: Persistent or periodic excessive drug use inconsistent with or unrelated to acceptable medical practice. (See also “drug” and “drug or substance of abuse”.)
MOTIVATION OF THE STUDY
Numerous research studies have been conducted about challenges caused by alcohol abuse on learners situated both in rural and urban areas, however the research studies conducted mostly focused on general problems. Much research has not been done focusing on the impact of alcohol abuse between grade 10 to grade 12 learners at Xigalo community. Therefore, there is a need for research studies to be conducted focusing on the impact of alcohol abuse in secondary schools situated in rural areas.
Looking at the high rate of crimes, dropouts and gangsters or violence in most of secondary schools in rural areas which is caused by the lack of awareness campaigns amongst learners in rural communities about the impact of alcohol abuse is one of the motives behind the researcher’s choice of study.
South Africa has a serious alcohol abuse problem and ranks among the countries with the highest levels of alcohol abuse globally. An increasing concern is the rise of abuse of alcohol among young people. Alcohol abuse impact negatively on the users, their families and communities. Alcohol abuse damage the health of users and are linked to rises in non-communicable diseases including HIV and AIDS, cancer, heart disease and psychological disorders. Users are also exposed to violent crime, either as perpetrators or victims and are also at risk of long-term unemployment due to school dropout and foetal alcohol syndrome, being in conflict with law and loss of employment. The social costs for users are exacerbated due to being ostracised from families and their communities. In acute cases users are at risk of premature deaths due ill health, people involved in accidents as well as innocent drivers, violent crime and suicide (National Drug Master Plan, 2013).
Alcohol abuse have negative impact in both the users and non-users such as injury and death due to people driving under the influence of alcohol. As the result of alcohol abuse, families of addicts are placed under significant financial pressures due to the costs associated with theft from the family, legal fees for users and the high costs of treatment. The emotional and psychological impacts on families and the high levels of crime and other social ills have left many communities under siege by the scale of alcohol abuse (National Drug Master Plan, 2013).
According to Pluddeman (2004), although the issue of alcohol abuse has received wide publicity, perhaps even more than crime, yet it appears that it is the least understood in the South African society. Alcohol abuse of appears to have been accepted almost as normal in the society. At the community level, most parents do not have the knowledge to identify that their children may be abusing alcohol. Rebelliousness and other abnormal behaviours in adolescents are viewed as normal. Besides, many parents say they do not have the authority to discipline their children because they have been disempowered by government legislations.
In addition, another reason for the study is the fact that there is still a scarcity of research in the field of alcohol abuse, especially amongst secondary school learners in rural communities. The limited number of studies undertaken in South Africa that touch about the impact of alcohol abuse by adolescents on academic performance have touched the subject only on the periphery. Besides, the fact is that alcohol abuse pattern changes over time and, therefore, require continuous study about the pattern and types of alcohol abuse prevalent at each point in time. This will be of use to those involved in planning campaigns and other policy issues aimed at curbing these habits (Parry, 2004).
Having revealed the above impact of alcohol abuse, it is evident that alcohol abuse is a problem in learners, and it should be brought to their consideration that alcohol abuse is not a culture but rather something that brings those challenges which some learners fail to cope with and function effectively. Therefore, this study sought to explore the impact of alcohol abuse amongst secondary school learners at Xigalo community.
PRELIMINARY LITERATURE REVIEW
Alcohol abuse among secondary school learners remains a persistent problem across the world today. It affects all sectors of society in all countries. In particular it affects the freedom and development of youth who are the world’s most valuable asset. The gravity and characteristics of this problem vary from region to region and country to country (Boyd et al, 2013). Elliott et al (2014) argued that in the recent past, alcohol abuse among young people has risen to unique levels.
Learners from different secondary school abuse alcohol and engage in alcohol-related activities for a variety of reasons. Some of the reason include becoming more social and eliminate social awkwardness, to cope with stressors, and to have a good time, although these rewards comes with risks. Researches indicated several factors that influenced learners to abuse alcohol. Among the leading factors were peer pressure (Violence, 2000), personal and emotional problems pushed by poor parent child relationship, availability of cheap alcohol in the community (Hamdulay & Mash, 2011) and family influence (Betancourt & Herrera, 2006).
Dube et al (2013) stated that parents, siblings and other adults served as models for alcohol abuse among learners. Other factors were: curiosity, having fun and feeling cool, need for recognition, need to be feared, need to be famous among other pupils in the school and belief among them that being drunk assist in increase academic performance. With regards to peer pressure, they stated that the need to fit with others and not being seen as backward among friends was a strong initiating factor in many learners Larimer (2013) argue that learners feel pressured to fit in and engage in activities that their friends are doing. This therefore led learners to abuse alcohol especially in situations where their friends abused alcohol.
family related factors such as bad parenting style and broken homes also contribute to alcohol abuse (Devos ,Comby & Lange, 2008). For example, parents and siblings who abuse alcohol or tolerate abuse of these substances by children in their homes started them to do the same. Moreover, weak parental guidance is one of the major factors that increased abuse of alcohol among learners. With regard to parental influence, numerous studies reported parents to have significant impact on their children’s lives. For example, a study by Hudson, Wekerle and Stewart (2014; 2015) indicate that parents who did not give their adolescent children strict messages about the use alcohol were putting them in danger.
The World Health Organisation (2004) states that the availability of alcohol to underage persons under different circumstances, such as alcoholic families or communities, parental permissiveness, poverty and peer pressure fuels adolescent alcohol abuse. Learners also seem to have drinking problems, which pose global social and public health concern. South Africa is also experiencing substantial change with the onset age of alcohol intake. According to studies conducted in South Africa it was reported that there is growing evidence that South African society experiences fairly widespread alcohol consumption amongst youth and adults.
Alcohol abuse is often seen as being normal, a culture, and part of the youth experience. Larimer (2013) stated that alcohol abuse is mostly considered a habit, a culture or norm in most societies, alcohol abuse is essentially a social act and as such it is embedded in a context of values, attitudes, and other norms. These values, attitudes and other norms constitute important sociocultural factors that influence the effects of alcohol abuse. limited research has been conducted about the alcohol abuse behaviour of South African learners, the country does not have enough documented studies on learners especially those that are in rural areas and their drinking patterns, how these patterns have an impact on their behaviour, their social and academic lives.
Alcohol abuse is associated with several negative outcomes and consequences for learners and can affect the people around them in their daily lives. A selection of harmful outcomes associated with alcohol abuse includes the increase of deficient performance and absenteeism. Dube et al (2013) mention dangers associated with alcohol consumption as serious threat not only to the health of individual consumer, but also that of society as well. They pointed out that learners that drink regularly also do other things that can put them or those around them at risk. Such behaviour includes illegal drugs, fighting, carrying weapons and having unsafe sexual activity. Alcohol plays a key role in many violent crimes including murder, assault, manslaughter and rape (Ericsson et al, 2014). Moreover, alcohol abuse also impairs judgement and may cause people to overreact to perceived threats or to fail to consider the future risk of an impulsive violent response.
For this study, researchers will employ the social learning theory by Bandura (1977) which argues that People learn through observing other peoples’ behaviours, attitudes, and outcomes of those behaviours. The social learning theory emphasizes the role of societal influences, which impacts individuals and focuses on peer pressure and relationships. This theory suggests that role modelling effects personal decisions and choices “Most human behaviour is learned observationally through modelling: from observing others, one forms an idea of how new behaviours are performed, and on later occasions this coded information serves as a guide for action.” (Bandura, 1977). Social learning theory explains human behaviour in terms of continuous reciprocal interaction between cognitive, behavioural, and environmental influences.
The environment has an enormous impact on peoples’ behaviours or the way, in which they conduct their lives, the school environment is one place that is very influential and gives learners a chance to express themselves and also express those personalities that have always been hidden inside which they have observe or learned and they are unable to express them at home.
This theory is relevant for this study, because learners often learn to abuse alcohol simply by observing other people within their social context. This theory focuses on the interaction between the individual and their environment in shaping partner of their behaviour. It argues that learners engage in alcohol abuse because they have seen either their parents, siblings, peers and or people abusing alcohol.
AIM AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
Aim of the study
The aim of this study is to explore the impact of alcohol abuse amongst secondary school learners at Xigalo community.
Objectives of the study
? To establish the causes of alcohol abuse amongst secondary school learners at Xigalo community.
? To describe the relationship between the abuse of alcohol with the learner’s behavior.
? To determine the degree to which alcohol abuse affects learners psychologically, socially and academically.
? To recommend new possible solutions in dealing with alcohol abuse amongst learners.
? What are the causes of alcohol abuse amongst grade 10 to 12 learners at secondary schools?
? How is the relationship between the abuse of alcohol with the learner’s behavior?
? What are the degree to which alcohol abuse affects learners psychologically, socially and academically?
? What are the new possible solutions in dealing with alcohol abuse amongst learners?
9. RESEACH METHODOLOGY
9.1 Research approach
This study will use the qualitative approach. According to Bless et al (2013), qualitative approach is a research approach that seeks to understand the phenomenon under study from the sample point of view. It consists of a set of interpretive material practices that make the world visible and then transform it. In addition, these practices turn the world into a series of representations including field notes, interviews, conversations, photographs, recordings and memos to the self. At this level, qualitative research involves an interpretive, naturalistic approach to the world. This implies that its researchers study things in their natural settings, attempting to make sense of or interpret phenomena in terms of the meaning people bring to them.
9.2 Research design
The study will employ an exploratory research design. The purpose of exploratory research is to gain a broad understanding of a situation, phenomenon, community or person (Bless, 2000). The focus of this research is to explore the world of learners who are involved in alcohol abuse and the challenges that come with the abuse. Alcohol abuse is a social phenomenon and must be studied using social research strategies. An exploratory research design is appropriate for this study give its aims and objectives. The study seeks to explore the impacts of alcohol abuse amongst secondary school learners, and establish an understanding of how these challenges have an impact on their social, psychological and personal lives.
Given the purpose of this study, the population will include both females and males in grade 10 to grade 12 aged above 16 years, with alcohol abuse behaviour patterns from two secondary schools namely Dlamani and Thambisa secondary school at Xigalo community; secondly the teachers at those schools and finally the family members of the respondents.
9.4 Sampling and sample size
For following study will employ the non-probability sampling method. According to De Vos et al (2011) in non-probability sampling the odds of selecting a particular individual are not known as the researcher does not know members of the population. The researchers will use purposive sampling, which is a procedure in which the elements are selected from the target population based on their fit with the purposes of the study and specific inclusion and exclusion criteria (Daniel, 2011). Which in this case the target population in which purposive sampling will be used for are teachers at those identified secondary schools, looking at the fact that they have been teaching or working with learners who have alcohol abuse challenges. The researchers will comprise the respondents from identified two secondary schools at Xigalo community to gather information; where at each school, four learners per grade from grade 10 to grade 12 will be identified to be respondents. The total number of 24 respondents will be interviewed for the purpose of research.
9.5 Data collection methods
For this study the interviewing method will be used to collect data. Dörnyei (2007) argues that an interview is ‘a natural and socially acceptable’ way of collecting data as it can be used in various situations covering a variety of topics. The advantage of interviews is that the interviewer can adapt the questions (if necessary) during the interview process (McMillan ; Schumacher ,2006). The researchers selected this method because interview limits biasness, it ensures that respondents understand the nature and content of the questions and are therefore able to give relevant and appropriate information that will be useful to the researchers. The researchers wish to accurately capture the data and due to that all the interviews will be tape-recorded, after that the interviews will analysed, and the data will later be destroyed for confidentiality purposes.
9.6 Data analysis
Data analysis is defined by De Vos et al (2005) as the process of bringing order, structure and meaning to the mass of collected data. With regard to qualitative interview, the thematic analyses will be used. Thematic analysis is desired to be used when qualitative data has been collected through interviews. Thematic analysis is a procedure for the categorization of verbal or behavioural data, for purposes of classification, summarization and tabulation (De Vos et al, 2002).
9.7 Quality criteria
Quality principles Quality criteria Techniques to enhance quality
Truth value Credibility
The extent to which the study’s findings are trustworthy and believable to others (Frambach, 2013). -For the purpose of this study the researcher will ensure credibility by:
-Allowing voluntary participation and by taking all the respondents through the same questions to ensure that there is no new information to be raised.
-To collect data for an extended period (prolonged engagement).
-To ask feedback from participants on the data or interpretation of data (member checking).
The extent to which the findings can be transferred or applied in different settings (Frambach, 2013). For this study, transferability will be achieved by:
-Making the findings meaningful to others by describing them and their context in detail.
-Discussing the findings resonance with existing literature from different setting.
The extent to which the findings are consistent in relation to the contexts in which they were generated (Frambach, 2013). The researchers will ensure dependability by:
-Collecting data until no new themes emerge (saturation).
-Continuously analyse the data to inform further data collection.
-Continuously re-examine the data using insights that emerge during analysis
-Be flexible and open towards the process and topic.
The extent to which the findings are based on the study’s participants and settings instead of researcher’s biases (Frambach, 2013). The researchers will ensure confirmability by:
-Searching the data and for literature for evidence that disconfirms the findings.
-Discussing the research process and for findings with peers (peer debriefing).
-Keep a diary to reflect on the process and the researcher’s role and influence (reflectivity).
-Document the steps and decisions taken in the research, and their motives.
10. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will explore the world of learners who engage in alcohol abuse, the findings of the study will outline some of the motives why secondary school learners abuse alcohol. The study will further indicate the challenges that these learners in particular come across as a result of alcohol abuse. The study will also recommend possible solutions to the challenges of alcohol abuse within grade 10 to grade 12 learners at Dlamani and Thambisa secondary schools. Moreover, the study will make recommendations to the mentioned schools management on how they can bring awareness to the learners about the impacts of alcohol abuse. Furthermore, it will add value to the available literature on alcohol abuse and it’s after use challenges.
11. ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
? Voluntary Participation
Voluntary participation requires that people should not be forced into partaking in research. The researchers will give time to participants to voluntarily participate in the study and will not force them to be part of the study. A consent form will be given to each participant that will prove their agreement into voluntary participating in the study.
? Informed consent
Informed consent refers to the process of informing potential research participating about all aspects of the research (Monette et al, 1994). According to De Vos et al (2005) argue that participants must be legally and psychologically competent to consent and that they would be free to withdraw from the investigation at any time. Informed consent includes researchers’ clarifying the aim and objectives of the study as well as the procedures to be followed up front to everybody taking part in the research. Researchers will make it clear to participants that participating in the study is voluntary, and that should they for some reason want to withdraw from it, they have the right to do so at any given time. Researchers will compile consent forms which will be distributed to the participants to sign before taking part in the study. The researchers will reserve the right to anonymity should the outcomes of the study be publicised.
? Risk of harm
De Vos et al. (2002) indicate that it is the obligation of the researcher to protect subjects from any form of discomfort that may emerge from the research project. Ethical standard requires that researchers not put participants in a situation where they might be at risk as a result of their participation. Harm can be defined as both physical and psychological. The researchers will ensure that the study and the questions asked do not harm the participants emotionally and psychologically and their participation in the study will not bring any form of harm to them.
Almost all research guarantees the participants confidentiality. They must be assured that identifying information will not be made available to anyone who is not directly involved in the study. The researchers will inform the participants of their rights to confidentiality and they will be reassured that the information gathered through interviews will only be used for the purpose of the study and will not be revealed to anyone.
When anonymity is promised, the name of the respondent does not appear on the research instrument or data (Sarantakos, 2005). This is the standard principle which essentially means that the participant will remain anonymous throughout the study, even to the researchers themselves. Clearly, the anonymity standard is a stronger guarantee of privacy.
? Deception of subjects
Deception is the misleading of subjects about the real purpose of the research or other knowledge that might contaminate the results. Subjects who are unaware of the real purpose of the research will behave more naturally (Burns, 2000). In this regard, the researchers will not withhold any information regarding the study nor mislead the participants.
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