• Emmanuel Onu ALHASSAN
  • Faith Monday AJODO
  • Ajayi Oluwabunmi HEZEKIAH


Substance use, Public secondary schools, Locus of control, Self-esteem, Gender, Family background.


The study investigated the socio-psychological factors associated with substance use among senior secondary school students in Nyanya and Mararaba areas of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and Nasarawa State, Nigeria. An ex post facto, cross-sectional research design using stratified sampling technique was adopted to recruit 179 participants (M=85 and F=94) who were senior secondary school students (SSI-SSIII) from selected public secondary schools in Nyanya and Mararaba areas of the FCT and Nasarawa. Three psychological research instruments were used in the study: Adolescent Alcohol Substance Use Questionnaire was used to assess adolescents’ substance use, Nowicki and Strickland Locus of Control Scale was used to assess locus of control while Rosenberg Self-esteem Scale was used to assess global self-esteem (self-worth and self-acceptance) of adolescents. Three hypotheses were tested in the study. Findings indicated that there was a significant prevalence rate of alcohol use (X2 (1) = 8.106, P< .05), cigarettes (X2 (1) = 3.881, P< .05) and marijuana (X2 (1) = 7.326, P< .05) with no statistically significant prevalence rate for other drugs among Senior Secondary School Students. The result further showed a significant relationship between substance use and locus of control (r[177] = 0.226, P< 0.01), no significant relationship between substance use and self-esteem (r[177] = 0.077, P> 0.05). The results showed that age, gender, family background and locus of control jointly predicted substance use ([R= .359; F= 5.129, p< .01]) among secondary school students. Independently, gender (β= -.212; t= -2.713, p< .05) and locus of control (β= .207; t= 2.700, p< .05) significantly predicted substance use but age (β= -.107; t= -1.443, p> .05), family background (β= -.001; t= -.015, p> .05), and self-esteem (β= .155; t= 2.106, p> .05) did not predict substance use. By implication, the findings suggest that there is a high prevalence of substance use caused by some socio-psychological factors such as gender, family background, locus of control and self-esteem among senior secondary school students in Nyanya and Mararaba areas of the FCT and Nasarawa State. We therefore recommended that Government at various levels, Professional Associations like the Nigerian Psychological Association and NGOs should initiate well-articulated preventive and intervention programmes such as having counsellors in schools to help change attitudes / behaviours and reverse the trend of drug use among secondary school students.   


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