Knowledge and perceptions of the dangers of substance abuse among affected youth attending St. John of God Community Services, Malawi.
Chirambo, Griphin Baxter Njeresa.
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Substance abuse is a major problem amongst the youth worldwide. The goal of this study was to explore the knowledge and perceptions on the dangers of substance abuse among the affected youth attending St John of God Community Services, in Mzuzu, Malawi. The participants in the study were selected on the basis that they had been diagnosed as having a substance induced psychotic disorder and are currently receiving treatment from the hospital either as hospitalised or as outpatients. The study used both quantitative and qualitative research designs. The purposive sampling method was used to identify the quantitative sample while the qualitative sample was selected by using the theoretical sampling method. Forty-five participants completed the questionnaire to provide the quantitative data and 7 participants were interviewed to provide the qualitative data. The quantitative data was analysed by using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) and the results were presented in tables and graphs. The qualitative data was analysed manually and the results were presented by using the participants' direct quotes. The findings of the study revealed that lack of knowledge and perceptions of the dangers of substance abuse are not the only contributing fac tors to substance abuse amongst the youth. As the results showed, that the youth had vast knowledge on the dangers of substance abuse and they also perceived these dangers negatively. However, it was found that other factors such as the enjoyment aspect and unemployment influenced the youth to start abusing substances.