Original Research

Adolescents’ lived experiences of substance abuse in the Greater Giyani Municipality

Annie A. Temane, Tinyiko Rikhotso, Marie Poggenpoel, Chris Myburgh
Curationis | Vol 46, No 1 | a2379 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/curationis.v46i1.2379 | © 2023 Annie Temane, Tinyiko Rikhotso, Marie Poggenpoel, Chris Myburgh | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 July 2022 | Published: 01 February 2023

About the author(s)

Annie A. Temane, Department of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Tinyiko Rikhotso, Department of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Marie Poggenpoel, Department of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Chris Myburgh, Department of Educational Psychology, Faculty of Education, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Adolescence is a unique and distinct stage of development that involves changes in the physical, psychological and social aspects of adolescents. It is a critical transition into adulthood whereby heightened risk-taking and sensation-seeking takes place, such as substance abuse. In a South African context, this transition sometimes occurs under economic stress, poverty, unemployment, high levels of crime and political instability. This can place adolescents at risk of substance abuse.

Objectives: To explore and describe the lived experiences of adolescents abusing substances in the Greater Giyani Municipality in the Limpopo province, South Africa.

Method: A qualitative, exploratory, descriptive and contextual research design with a phenomenological approach was used. Data were collected through individual, in-depth, phenomenological interviews and field notes. Thematic coding was utilised to analyse the collected data, and literature was reviewed to support the findings. Moreover, measures to ensure trustworthiness and ethical principles were applied throughout the research process.

Results: Five themes were identified: substance abuse behaviour among adolescents, adolescents’ motivation for continuing substance abuse, the effects of substance abuse on the lives of adolescents, factors affecting adolescents’ discontinuation of substance abuse and a need to discontinue substance abuse.

Conclusion: The study concluded that adolescents abusing substances in the Greater Giyani, Limpopo province, experience loss of control, broken relationships, poor academic performance, stigma attached to mental illness and negative emotions. The adolescents foresaw their future as uncertain and without direction. It is recommended that mental healthcare professionals introduce and implement interventions that will assist the adolescents who abuse substances in the Greater Giyani, Limpopo province.

Contribution: The findings in this study could add knowledge in developing and implementing of strategies for psychiatric nurses to support adolescents abusing substances in the Greater Giyani, Limpopo province.


Keywords

adolescents, lived experiences, substance abuse, mental health, mental healthcare professionals

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