A gendered perspective of smoking and drinking behaviour among pupils at Senanga Secondary School

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Wamunyima, Victor Likezo
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The purpose of the study was to explore alcohol consumption and smoking behaviours from a gendered and non-gendered perspective among pupils and Senanga High School. Methodology: Self-report questionnaires were administered to 222 pupils mean age 17.4 ± SD 1.5. In addition, in-depth interviews with 12 pupils who were identified to be smokers and used alcohol were conducted. Data was further collected from one focus group discussion with housemasters. Qualitative data was analysed using qualitative descriptive analysis (QDA). Valid questionnaires were entered into a SPSS database software version 17. Noting the nature of the research questions and the answers that were sought, descriptive statistics and chi square tests of independence to assess associations among key theoretical and demographical variables were done. Null hypotheses were rejected when p < 0.05.Results: More pupils n = 190 (85.6%) had an experience of taking alcohol as compared to n = 95 (42.8%) who have had an experience with smoking. The frequency of smoking was significantly higher p = 0.02 among boys than among girls. Prevalence of beer unlike smoking increased with age (p < 0:001) in both sexes. An association does not exist between being male or female and taking alcohol p = 0.687. There was no significant association between smoking and attachment as assumed by Bandura‘s social learning theory. However the non-gendered reasons for smocking were: adverts, lack of strict laws, economic status of the parents, ease of access of alcohol, cigarettes and cannabis poor monitoring and Supervision in the schools and group influence. The gendered reasons for smocking or consuming alcohol varied but they could be grouped as stereotypical motives which could be typical masculine or feminine motives, atypical masculine motives and mutual cross cutting motives.Conclusions: This information can be useful for subsequent school campaigns aimed at reducing or preventing substance abuse, because they can be focused on sensitive areas instead of on general information. As prevention is easier than changing acquired habits, the researcher suggests that educating children about alcohol should start from the beginning of elementary school and continued through all the years of schooling
Young-Drug Use , Smoking-Zambia , Alcoholism-Zambia