Substance Use among Adolescent High School Students in Nigeria and Its Relationship with Psychosocial Factors

Adetunji Obadeji, Banji F. Kumolalo, Lateef O. Oluwole, Adedotun S. Ajiboye, Mobolaji U. Dada, Rose Chidindu Ebeyi


Background: Despite the tremendous negative consequences of substances on the health and well-being of adolescents, studies continue to report the high rates of substance use among adolescents. We aimed to identify the pattern of substance use among high school students and its relationship with psychosocial factors.

Study design: A cross-sectional study.

Methods: The study was conducted in Oct 2019 among students in the senior secondary school in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State; southwestern Nigeria. Participants were selected using random sampling, and data were collected using a socio-demographic questionnaire, the Kessler Psychological distress scale and an adapted version of the NIDA-Modified ASSIST. Bivariate analysis and multiple logistic regression were carried out to identify factors associated with psychological distress.

Results: Overall, 682 students participated in the study. The lifetime and current prevalence of any substance were 17.3% (95% CI: 14.7%, 20.5%) and 11.7% (95% CI: 9.0, 14.0), respectively. Although most substance use variables increases the risk of psychological distress, history of lifetime substance use AOR= 3.03 (95% CI: 1.19, 7.72, P=0.020) and absence of direct parental care AOR=2.04 (1.19, 3.48, P=0.009) significantly increases the risk of experiencing psychological distress. Parental substance use AOR=3.48 (95% CI: 1.57, 7.69, P=0.002), male gender AOR=2.97 (95% CI: 1.82, 4.83, P=0.001) significantly increased substance use risk while having married parents AOR=0.50 (95% CI: 0.27, 0.92, P=0.027) and living with parents AOR 0.39 (95% CI: 0.20, 0.75, P=0.005) were significant protective factors.

Conclusion: The prevalence of substance use among these adolescents was substantial. Drug education initiated in primary school and services aimed at promoting the mental wellbeing of adolescents may go a long way in decreasing substance use among this population.


Adolescent; Psychological distress; Substance-related disorders; Students

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