Youths’ perceptions of the relation between alcohol consumption and risky sexual behaviour in the Western Cape, South Africa: a qualitative study
Sinclair, Deborah Louise
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The purpose of this study is to explore the factors that youth identify as contributing to alcohol consumption, and more specifcally its relation to risky sexual behaviour among youth. We employed an exploratory qualitative method using focus group discussions with 34 young people between the ages of 18-25-years-old in low socio-economic status communities in the Western Cape province of South Africa. Data were analyzed thematically utilizing Braun and Clarke’s (2006) six-step thematic analysis process. We identifed two thematic domains pertaining to alcohol consumption and risky sexual behaviour, namely individual and social factors, each comprising three themes. The individual factors thematic domain comprises intrapersonal infuences, employment and educational attainment; while the social factors thematic domain includes interpersonal infuences, social infuences, and hope for the future. Youth living in low socio-economic status communities were thought to be at greater risk of alcohol misuse and subsequent risky behaviour, given the political and social history of marginalisation, systematic oppression, and social inequality. To address alcohol use and risky sexual behavior among youth, we recommend interventions with adolescents, parents or guardians, and the community. More specifcally, interventions aimed at adolescents should focus on the transition to young adulthood. Interventions with parents should focus on their role in modelling and potentially regulating alcohol consumption. Finally, community interventions should centre on drinking behaviors, levels of drinking, what constitutes harmful drinking, and how to identify when treatment and recovery support is likely to be required.