Does Risk Perception Affect Alcohol Consumption among Secondary School Students in Jamaica?

Document Type: Research Articles

Authors

1 Department of General Studies and Behavioural Sciences, University of the Commonwealth Caribbean, Kingston, Jamaica

2 Department of Community Health and Psychiatry, Faculty of Medical Sciences, The University of the West Indies, Mona, Kingston, Jamaica

3 College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, Enugu, Nigeria

4 School of Nursing, Faculty of Medical Sciences, The University of the West Indies, Mona, Kingston, Jamaica

5 5Department of Guidance; Counselling, Faculty of Education, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria.

Abstract

Background: Alcohol consumption among young people is a major public health problem world-wide and in
Jamaica. A number of factors have been reported to affect alcohol use among high school students. The aim of this study
was to investigate the influence of perception of the harmfulness of alcohol on alcohol use among secondary school
students in Jamaica. Methods: Data collected from a nationally representative sample of 3,365 students were analyzed.
Descriptive and inferential statistics were performed using SPSS. Results: Students’ perception of risk of drinking
alcohol frequently and getting drunk respectively had positive and significant associations with past month alcohol use
(AOR= 1.44, 95% CI= 1.09- 1.88 and AOR= 1.38, 95% CI= 1.02- 1.86, respectively) compared to students who felt
that drinking alcohol frequently and getting drunk were very harmful. Males, 12 years or younger were significantly less
likely to use alcohol in the past month (AOR= 0.77, 95% CI=0.60- 0.97; AOR= 0.68, 95% CI= 0.53-0.97 respectively).
Students with good relationship with their mothers were less likely to use alcohol in the past year and past month
(AOR= 0.55, 95% CI= 0.35-0.87; AOR= 0.50, 95% CI= 0.32- 0.78). Conclusion: Risk perception of the harmfulness
of alcohol significantly affects alcohol use among secondary school students in Jamaica. Males, 12 years or younger,
who had good relationship with mothers, were significantly less likely to use alcohol in past month

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