Psychosocial correlates of alcohol and other substance use among low-income adolescents in peri-urban Johannesburg, South Africa: A focus on gender differences

J Health Psychol. 2017 Sep;22(11):1415-1425. doi: 10.1177/1359105316628739. Epub 2016 Mar 1.


Alcohol and other drug use is prevalent among peri-urban, South African adolescents. We identified correlates of alcohol and other drug use by gender among adolescents (age = 16-18 years; N = 822) in peri-urban Johannesburg. Interviewer-administered surveys assessed sexual activity, alcohol and other drug use, and relevant psychosocial factors. In separate logistic regression models of alcohol and other drug use stratified by gender, violence exposure and sexual activity were associated with alcohol use for both males and females. For females only, depressive symptoms were associated with drug use. For males only, being older and sexually active were associated with drug use. Substance use interventions for South African adolescents should consider psychological health, sexual health, and tailoring by gender.

Keywords: adolescence; alcohol; depression; drinking; drugs; sexual health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Psychology
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology
  • Social Determinants of Health
  • South Africa
  • Substance-Related Disorders / etiology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology*
  • Urban Health