The study was to determine the Alcohol Use Knowledge, Attitude and Practice Among Secondary School Students in Owerri North L. G. A. of Imo State. To achieve the purpose of the study, 12 objectives with corresponding research questions were posed and nine hypotheses postulated. The descriptive survey design was used for the study.
The instrument for data collection was a 58 item questionnaire. Three Lectures in Health and Physical education and two from science education validated the instrument. Split half method was used for test of reliability. The population for the study consisted of 640 secondary school students in Owerri North L. G. A. of Imo State. Six hundred and forty copies of the questionnaire were distributed and were collected back which gave one hundred per cent return rate were used for the analysis of data.
Percentages and mean scores were used to answer research questions, while t-test, ANOVA and Chi-Square statistics were used for testing of the null hypotheses. The result of the study indicated that: (1) The students’ level of knowledge of alcohol use and abuse was average while students level of knowledge of alcohol Misuse was high (see Table 1). (2) Students’ attitude towards alcohol use, misuse and abuse was positive (see Table 2). (3) Majority of the students used alcohol misused and abused alcohol (see Table 3). (4) Female students had high level of knowledge of alcohol use, while male students had average level of knowledge of alcohol use, male and female students had high level of alcohol misuse and abuse (see Table 4) (5) Slightly higher proportion of urban and rural students had high level of knowledge of alcohol misuse and abuse while urban and rural had average level of knowledge of alcohol use (see Table 5). (6) Junior secondary school students had high level of knowledge of alcohol use, than other classes while JSSIII students had low level of knowledge of alcohol use, JSSI students had high level of knowledge of alcohol misuse than other classes. JSSI students also had high level of knowledge of alcohol abuse than other classes while JSSII students had low level of knowledge of alcohol abuse (see Table 6). (7) The overall attitude of both male and female students toward alcohol use, misuse and abuse was positive although that of males was slightly higher than the females (see Table 7). (8) The overall attitude of both urban and rural students towards alcohol use, misuse and abuse was positive (see Table 8). (9) Both JSS and SS students had positive attitudinal mean scores towards alcohol use, misuse and abuse although that of JSS111 was slightly higher than that of JSSII and SSII (see Table 9). (10) Slightly higher percentage of male students than female students used alcohol, abused and misused alcohol (see Table 10). (11) More urban students used alcohol than rural students used and misused alcohol while rural students abuse alcohol more than urban students (see Table 11). (12) Both JSS and SS students used alcohol, misused and abused alcohol, although that of SS students was slightly higher than the JSS students (see Table 12). (13) There was no significant difference between male and female students’ level of knowledge of alcohol misuse and abuse while there was significant difference in the students’ knowledge of alcohol use (see Table 13). (14) There was no significant difference in the knowledge of students regarding alcohol use, misuse and abuse (see Table 14). (15) There was significant difference in the students’ level of knowledge of alcohol use, misuse and abuse (see Table 15). (16) There was no significant difference in the attitude of male and female students towards alcohol use, misuse and abuse (see Table 16). (17) There was no significant difference in the attitude of urban and rural students towards alcohol use misuse and abuse (see Table 17). (18) There was no significant difference in the attitude of JSS and SS students regarding alcohol use and alcohol misuse while there was significant difference in the attitude of students regarding alcohol abuse (see Table 18). (19) There was no significant difference in the practice of male and female students towards alcohol use, misuse and abuse (see Table 19). (20) There was no significant difference in the practice of urban and rural students towards alcohol use, misuse and abuse (see Table 20). (21) There was significant difference in the practice of JSS and SS students towards alcohol use, abuse and misuse (see Table 21).
Based on major findings and conclusions, the government should endeavour to make the teaching of Health education compulsory to both junior and senior secondary schools. Government should also fund the organization of seminars and workshops for all secondary school students to bridge the existing gap. This will enhance their performance in their knowledge, attitude and practice of alcohol use in Owerri North L. G. A. of Imo
Background to the Study
Alcohol use and associated risk behaviours of secondary school students is a public health concern. Excess intake of alcohol may cause accidents on the roads, homes, and at work places. Heavy drinking is also a major cause of hooliganism, an anti-social behaviours and violence in the homes as well as of the breakdown of personal relationships (Smith & Carol, 1992). The researchers further stated that many people, however drink regularly but never become drunk, violent or argumentative and so assume that their drinking is not harming them. The researcher that regular consumption of substantial quantity of alcohol may damage the liver, the heart and the brain and that if a high alcohol intake is maintained for many years, permanent damage to these organs is inevitable. Different authors have varied definitions of alcohol.
Bevan (1990) stated that alcohol is a social hazard and explained that many eastern countries have banned or restricted the sale of alcohol, while in some countries the use of alcohol has some taxes and levies attached to it thereby making it too expensive for people to buy especially the secondary school students. Equally, in certain societies, the sale of alcohol to persons under a certain age is illegal but drinking alcohol is usually allowed under parental supervision (Pitman & White, 1991). Wagman and Ferguson (1997) defined alcohol as members of class of organic compound of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Procter (1999) defined alcohol as a colourless liquid contained in drinks such as beer, wine, spirit among others that can make people drunk. These can be considered as hydroxyl derivatives of hydrocarbon groups. Alcohol is colourless and tasteless liquid which is highly volatile and flammable (Miller, 2004). The author also stated that alcohol is part of our social fabric, that drinking it has been viewed as a source of desirable temporary mood modification and conviviality.
Bervan (1990) explained that alcohol is regarded as a drug with different chemical ingredients that induces euphoria, sedation and intoxication .The author further stated that the occasional use of alcohol is socially acceptable while excessive use of alcoholic beverages is socially irresponsible and legally unacceptable in Australia. Studies conducted in the 1970s on alcohol use in Nigeria focused primarily on the drinking practices of middle-aged and young adult men. In recent years, however, younger, students (that is, students between approximately 12 and 14 years of age who are in the early grades of secondary school) have become more involved in drinking.
Availability of alcohol is one of the factors in under-age drinking, that is the degree of efforts required to obtain alcohol as determined by geographic, economic and social factors. NIAAA, (1994) stated that policy and community strategies have been used to help reduce students access to alcohol and decrease the harmful consequences of established drinking. For instance, raising the minimum legal drinking age in secondary schools to 21, all communities and states in Austria saves estimated 20,000 lives between 1975-2000 and all states now have zero tolerance laws, which set the legal blood alcohol limit for drivers younger than age 21 at 0.00 or 0.02. This policy according to NIAAA has been associated with a 20 per cent decline in the proportion of a single vehicle, nighttime fatal crashes among drivers younger than age 21. Zimbodo (2002) revealed that the legal age for using alcohol is 21 years in most states in America. In Antario, the age is 17years, in Quebec the age is 18 years, in Nigeria there is no stated legal age but alcohol consumption is permitted to individuals at 16-18 years and above. Alcohol consumption may harm the individual’s health even if there is no addiction. Wagman and Ferguson (1997) explained that alcohol is any of the family of organic components containing the atomic group. This group which determines the physical and chemical properties of alcohol is attached to a chain of carbon atoms that also hold hydrogen atoms. The typical ethanol called ethyl alcohol or grain alcohol is a member of a large family of components and it is the only simple one that can be consumed safely within limits. Some of the other members as methanol are highly poisonous. Burns (1998) viewed alcohol as a depressant that means that, it can inhibit some types of natural activities that go on in the body. Onuzulike (2008) added that alcohol is a liquid with an intoxicating element and substance. The author explained that the habit of drinking builds up gradually and with excessive use of alcohol, the drinker soon forms the habit of drinking to a level that he or she prefers drinking to eating his or her food. In this study, alcohol is regarded as a social hazard, a depressant with different chemical ingredients that induces euphoria, sedation and intoxication. Estimate suggests that half of the population over the age of 14 years use alcohol at least weekly (Odejide & Olatawura, 1997). Alcohol utilization is associated with significant levels of harm among secondary school students. It contributes to a range of negative health and social consequences including violence, and high risk of unprotected sexual activities. Reports have it that in 1998 in the Northern part of Nigeria, 71 per cent of alcohol used by 14-17 years old was done at medium or high risk for acute harm. Wagman and Ferguson (1997) stated that alcohol generally may be used in pharmaceuticals and to sterilize hospital equipments. King, Ball & Carol (2003) added that 41 per cent of 14-17 years old female drinkers used alcohol at level of medium to high risk for acute harm to at least once a month.
Wagman and Ferguson (1997) stated that alcohol has three main types which include methyl (methanol) ethanol and propane alcohol Methyl or methanol alcohol is an intoxicating ingredient in fermented liquors. It is a violent poison which causes permanent blindness and death from respiratory failure (Marthin, 2003).
Methanol is used as solvent, as raw materials for the manufacture of formaldehydes and special resins, as special fuel and as cleaning agents. Industrially, alcohol is used as a chemical because it can readily be converted into a large number of other compounds. This is done by a simple chemical reaction to yield products such as fuel and waxes, surface active agents used in detergents, lubricants, emollient and forming agents. Payne and Hahn (1997) described alcohol use in a more general way. Alcohol use in a sense involves either taking alcohol correctly (once in a while) or incorrectly (excessively and regularly, that is undesirable use). The researchers further described alcohol use as the taking of alcohol occasionally or once in a while, that is correct use or proper use and in the right quantity. Incorrect use of alcohol on the other hand refers to more narrowly as alcohol misuse.
Furthermore, Soong (2002) opined that medically, alcohol is used to stimulate the body system to work faster, and its narcotic effects is useful for reducing heart pains. Alcohol is also used as sedatives to relieve depression. Alcohol is recommended in damp and cold climates and as energy booster. Wine and spirit in French life is related to strength, courage, romance, friendship and happiness. Soong further stated that, alcohol has the power to destroy germs, reduced fever, cure cold, improve circulation and nourish the body. Alcohol use in this study refers to the intake of alcoholic substances into the body.
In most situations, secondary school students may misuse, and abuse alcoholic beverages. Alcohol misuse means improper use of alcohol. Payne & Hahn (1997) stated that alcohol is misused when it is used inappropriately and in a large quantity which may significantly increase the risk of hazard to the individual user.
Alcohol can also be abused when the intake or consumption of it at a particular time exceeds a standard drink. A standard drink is a volume of alcoholic beverage containing approximately 18 millimeter of absolute alcohol regardless of the type of beverage such as beer, rum, gin and wine (Burns, 1998).
Payne and Hahn (1997) stressed that when alcohol is used excessively, deliberately and chronically, it is said to be abused. Alcohol is abused when it is used in a manner that can cause damage to a person’s health and makes the user to have impulsive urge to take alcohol until the drinking of alcohol affects his power of judgment and reasoning. Achalu (2004) stated that alcohol abuse occurs when alcohol use is hazardous to health and when it affects the person’s ability to work and relate freely with others. Therefore, the knowledge of the meaning of alcohol, its effects and consequences are very important to every body especially the secondary school students such as those in Owerri North Local Government Area of Imo state where the present study will be carried out.
Knowledge is the sum of what is known. Hornby (2000) stated that knowledge is fact, information, understanding and skills that a person has acquired through experience or education. This definition refers to the acquisition of facts and information and does not indicate the processes of acquisition. Omeregbe (1991) defined knowledge as the facts of understanding events, issues or objects that are acquired either through learning or experience. The researcher further explained that knowledge is broader and comes about as a result of learning via cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains. Omeregbe opined that knowledge could be justified as the most important out come of learning. Learning which results in knowledge can be formal as in the case where students from secondary schools are given health talk about alcohol use, its actions and effects or informal as in a situation where students get information concerning alcohol use from their friends, classmates, prints or electronic media. The researcher further stressed that when students are well informed about the actions, effects and consequences of using alcohol, this will enhance adequate knowledge and development of positive attitude towards alcohol use. Adeleke (1994) stated that knowledge relating to alcohol use can significantly be enhanced through health education. Adeleke identified that lack of knowledge as a diseases in the life of many African communities, especially in rural areas. This factor, Adeleke stated exposed rural dwellers to the scourge of preventable and treatable diseases including alcohol ailments which are consequences of over consumption of alcohol. Akpata (1997) added that knowledge of alcohol seems to be poor among secondary school students in the rural areas. Knowledge of alcohol use in the context of this study means, the understanding or experience students from secondary schools have acquired regarding the meaning of alcohol, effects and its action on the body. Possession of adequate knowledge regarding alcohol use by secondary school students such as those in Owerri North is of the paramount importance. Possession of correct knowledge regarding alcohol use will make them to grow up with correct knowledge of alcohol use and develop positive alcohol attitude and practice. Having correct knowledge of alcohol use can lead to reduction in alcohol related problems or disorders.
Another common concern among secondary school students is their attitude to alcohol use. Attitude refers to people’s affective feelings of likes and dislikes. Attitude emerges out of people’s experience which can be positive or negative. It is positive when a person develops a strong attraction of his likes, situation, object, or other persons or groups. While it is negative when the person develops a strong dislike for situations, objects, persons, groups or other identifiable aspect of our environments. Oserenren (1996) stated that attitude is a mental and natural state of readiness organized through experience, exerting a directive or dynamic influences upon the individual’s responses to all objects, events and situations to which it is related. Anderson (1998) viewed attitude as a moderately intense emotion that predisposes individuals to respond consistently in a favourable or unfavourable manner when confronted with a particular object. The researcher further added that attitude is an important determinant of behaviour which substantially influences one’s reactions in a wide variety of situations. Abanobi (2005) opined that attitude is how reality is perceived by the individual or group. Abanobi also stated that it is learned and that attitude towards an object, group or individual develops with time upon when, where and how it happens. Parks (2007) viewed attitude as acquired characteristics of an individual, which predispose him or her to respond in some preferential manner. Attitude when used in relation to alcohol use is termed alcohol use attitude. Applying this in the present study, alcohol use attitude means the feelings, beliefs and actual action the secondary school students have towards events, situations and issues relating to alcohol use. In this study, alcohol use attitude refers to a feeling, emotion, or thinking that predisposes secondary school students to respond either positively or negatively towards alcohol use, towards people suffering from effects of alcohol and towards people withdrawing from excessive drinking.
Practice refers to a way of doing something regularly. Hornby (2005) defined practice as a systematic repetition of an exercise, performance or behaviour. Relating this to the present study, alcohol use practice refers to a way of using alcohol which could be habitual or systematic as in a situation where one takes alcohol regularly or once he/she feels like taking it.
Secondary school students should be well informed about the dangers of using alcohol. A student according to Hornby (2005) is a person who is studying at a school especially at secondary school. Secondary school students typically range from eleven to about seventeen years in an ideal situation. They consist of junior secondary school one to three (11-14yeras) and senior secondary school one to three (15-17 years). The later groups of students are usually full of youthful exuberance and are under peer group influence. As members of peer group, they like experimenting with a lot of things including taking alcohol. For the purpose of this present study, secondary school students are those persons between the ages of 11-17years who are studying in secondary schools (Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey DHS 1990). It can be agreed that when students in the secondary schools acquired adequate knowledge on alcohol use, its effects and consequences, it will help them to avoid situations which can lead to alcohol ailments
Beckin (1990) stated that consistent consumption of alcohol leads to an inflammation of the stomach accompanied with nausea and loss of appetite. Johnson and Sedlacek (1997) stated that the health effect of alcohol in a person is determined by the blood alcoholic concentration (BAC). Johnson and Sedlacek further stressed that since alcohol is classified as a central nervous depressant; it interferes with or depresses the function of nerves, muscles and many other body tissues with stupor, unconsciousness and even cause death.
Psychologically, alcohol encourages different effects on behaviour and produces a phenomenon known as state dependency, while alcohol makes some people feel relaxed and mildly euphoric, it causes wild agitation, extreme mood swings and violent behaviour in others. Alcohol leads to tolerance (lower sensitivity to alcohol) and increased discomfort. It produces a chronic behavioural disorder popularly known as alcoholism (Marvinga, 1995). Odejide and Olatawura (1997) were of the view that alcoholics are susceptible to heart attacks, ashma, ulcer, cirrhosis of the lever and hypertension and are likelier to die of pneumonia or influenza.