Home > Exploration into the drug and alcohol related knowledge, attitudes and behaviours of early school leavers aged 15-20 years in the west of Ireland.

Redmond, Sue (2008) Exploration into the drug and alcohol related knowledge, attitudes and behaviours of early school leavers aged 15-20 years in the west of Ireland. Masters thesis, University of Limerick.

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Substance use can lead to a variety of negative impacts on society and individuals. Early school leaving places a person at increased risk of substance use and potential dependence. There are numerous reasons why a person engages in drug and alcohol use. The impact on health i.e. emotional, mental, social and physical can be devastating from substance use, including self-esteem, dependence and relationships with peers and family. Currently there is no research available which details the attitudes of early school leavers to substance use. This research aims to explore the drug and alcohol related attitudes, knowledge and behaviours of early school leavers in the West of Ireland.

A mixed method approach, triangulation, was employed to collect data. Data collection involved three phases; questionnaires, focus groups and photo-voice. Included in this study were 106 questionnaires (47m/59f; 15-20 years, mean age 16 years), 22 participants in three focus groups (14m/8f; mean age 16 years), one per county; Galway, Mayo and Roscommon, and five male (15-16 years) participants in photo-voice.

The findings suggest that use of all substances, except solvents, is high by comparison with school going counterparts, in particular cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy and speed. Alcohol use is widespread and accepted, with knowledge of the harms from alcohol coming from lived
experience. Parental influence was seen as important with regard to a young persons respect for alcohol. A lack of understanding of the link between drugs, mainly cocaine, and addiction is evident. Dissatisfaction with current drugs education, or a lack of it, was
apparent and knowledge level varied considerably within the group studied.

The conclusions drawn suggest that while a high proportion of early school leavers use substances, many do not. Consistent and appropriate means must be used to engage young people in particular; to challenge attitudes to substance use, enhance knowledge, positively impact behaviour and utilise normative education. A link must be made to parenting practices as parents hold significant influence in developing resilience, self-esteem and motivation for non-drink or drug using activities. Emphasis must also be placed on providing a range of youth services to meet the needs and diversity of young people, and the education system as it stands requires a creative approach to become more holistic in achieving better mental health, social health and emotional health.


Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Date:2008
Pages:186 p.
Keywords:AOD use, abuse, and dependence, Early School Leaver, high-risk youth, Ireland, knowledge, attitudes, and practices, parental attitude
Notes:Master of Arts (Health Education and Promotion)
EndNote:View
Accession Number:HRB 4340 (Available)
Subjects:A Substance use, abuse, and dependence > Prevalence > Substance use behaviour
B Substances > Drugs and alcohol in general
B Substances > Alcohol
F Concepts in psychology > Attitude and behaviour > Attitude toward substance use
T Demographic characteristics > Adolescent / youth (teenager / young person)
T Demographic characteristics > Early school Leaver
VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland > Mayo
VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland > Roscommon
VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland > Galway

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