Performance of Peer Oriented Activities on Prevalence, Knowledge and Attitude towards Substance Abuse Among Secondary School Students in Machakos County
Kyunguti, Gerald Muema
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Substance abuse is a problem to many people across the world. Programs and activities have been put in place to fight drug and substance abuse in schools. The Ministry of Education through the report of the presidential party in education and manpower training for the next decade and beyond and the Commission of inquiry on the education system of Kenya recommended that peer counseling services be established in all educational institutions. Peer counseling was therefore integrated in guidance and counseling programs as a remedy for students with different problems including drug and alcohol abuse. In spite of these efforts, alcohol and drug abuse is still rampant among secondary school students in Kenya. The study sought to determine the effects of peer oriented activities on attitude, knowledge and prevalence of substance abuse among secondary school students in Machakos County. The specific objectives were to determine the peer oriented activities used to change attitude, provide knowledge and reduce prevalence of Substance Abuse among secondary school students in Machakos County. It also determined if there was a significant difference in prevalence, knowledge and attitude on substance abuse between students in schools with peer oriented activities and those in schools without such activities. The Theory of Planned Behavior by Ajzen formed the theoretical basis of the study. The study used an Ex post Facto design to determine the performance of peer oriented activities. The sample size was obtained from a population of 17000 students and 31 public secondary schools in the sub county. Stratified, systematic and simple random sampling were used to select 14 schools, 225 students, 14 teachers and 72 Peer counselors to participate in the study. Data was collected using three sets of questionnaires, for students, peer counselors and guidance and counseling teachers. Percentages, frequency Tables and bar graphs were used to present data. The stated hypotheses were tested using the t-test. The study found out that small group presentations were the main activities used by peer counselors in their practice. Other activities like individual counseling, role modeling, play performance; befriending and outreach programs were used by less than 20% of peer counselors. The study found out that there was no significant difference in, knowledge, attitude and prevalence of Substance abuse between students in schools with peer oriented activities and schools without peer oriented activities at a significant level of 0.05. The p value for knowledge was 0.9685, attitude 0.954 and prevalence 0.892. The study concludes that peer oriented activities do not have effects on knowledge, attitude and prevalence of alcohol and drug abuse in Machakos County. The study recommends that peer counselors need to be trained on substance abuse prevention and that a curriculum should be developed to teach students about alcohol and drug abuse.