Psychosocial Challenges Mediating the Relationship between Single Parent Families and Drug Use among Secondary School Students in Nairobi County, Kenya
Kithome, Richard Kyalo
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Numerous studies on the role of family on drug use have reported that belonging to a single parent family correlates with drug use (Crano & Hemovich, 2009). The causal relationship has not been unequivocally established, yet studies continue to associate single parent families with drug abuse. There is very little research on factors associated to single parent families which increase students’ vulnerability to drug use. There is a gap on how single parent families increase the risk of drug use among students. To fill this gap, the current study introduced two variables (low self-esteem and perceived absence of parental monitoring) as mediators in the relationship between single parent families and drug use among secondary school students. The current study sought to examine psychosocial challenges (low self-esteem and parental monitoring) mediating the relationship between single parent families and drug use among secondary schools students in Nairobi County using Individual Psychology and Operant Conditioning learning theories. This study sought to ascertain whether Adlerian concept of compensation for feelings of inferiority (elsewhere termed as low self-esteem) had an impact on drug use and whether parental monitoring had an impact on drug use among students from single parent families through Skinner’s concept of negative reinforcement. The correlational research design was employed for the study. The target population was secondary school students in Nairobi County. Stratified sampling technique was used to select 8 schools (public/private; boys and girls). Stratified random sampling was used to select 384 respondents for the study from every class/form. One questionnaire was used to collect data on drug use, single parent families, self-esteem and parental monitoring from students. The second questionnaire was used to collect data on psychotherapy and prevention of drug use from counselors, chaplains and teachers. Content and construct validity were established by ensuring that there were adequate items to measure the variables. Expert opinion was also sought. Reliability was established through the test-retest method. The site for pretesting was selected from secondary schools in Ongata Rongai, Kaiado County. Cronbach’s alpha test on the questionnaires for students and for teachers, chaplains and counselors yielded coefficients of .880 & .713 respectively. Data was analyzed with the help of SPSS Version 20. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze data. Chi square and multiple regression statistical tests were used. Thematic analysis was used for qualitative data. Research findings indicated a significant relationship between single parent families and drug use. A significant relationship between low self-esteem and drug use; and between perceived absence of parental monitoring and drug use, among secondary school students from single parent families also emerged. Further, low self-esteem and perceived absence of parental monitoring had a mediating effect on single parent families and drug use. These findings may be useful to counselors, teachers, parents and government and non-governmental agencies. They may also be useful to single parents in terms of prevention and seeking for treatment for their secondary school going children.