Influence of Parenting on Alcohol and Drug Use among Teacher Trainees in Nigerian Universities

Article excerpt

This study examines the influence of parenting on alcohol and drug use among teacher trainees in Nigerian universities. The sample includes students who leave home after secondary school (residential--students on campus) as well as those who continue to live at home after secondary school (non-residential). Seventy-nine residential and 124 non-residential students were sampled. The attributes for parenting in this study consisted of behavioural monitoring, involvement, and encouragement of autonomy. Non-residential students described their parents as being more involving and providing less behavioural monitoring than residential students (residential: [M.bar] = 54.35, [SD.bar] = 11.94; non-residential: [M.bar] = 57.56, [SD.bar] = 8.75; t (2.205) p = .029). Greater parental involvement was related to lower levels of alcohol use among non-residential students, but unrelated to the use of other substances. A very low relationship between parenting and alcohol or other drug use was found for residential students.

Introduction

Traditional psychoanalytic and neo-analytic theories suggest that healthy adjustment during adolescence is marked by a cleaving of childhood ties to the parent (Blos, 1967; Freud, 1969). In contrast, contemporary research and theory indicate that a continuing, though transformed and renegotiated, connection to parents facilitates healthy and adaptive adjustment to the challenges of leaving home to attend university (Obot, 1993a, Sullivan and Sullivan, 1980).

One of the goals of university education in Nigeria is to "acquire both physical and intellectual skills which will enable individuals to be self-reliant and useful members of the society" (FME, 1998:32). Typically this transition involves a departure from home creating physical distance from family and peers, and the reciprocal need to learn how to live on one's own in a new environment, establish a new network of peer and other proximal social supports.

The effect of this transition on university students has been studied from a number of different perspectives. University students have described their relationship with their parents as emotionally close and supportive and view emotional separation as dysfunctional (Kenny, 1987;). Students who believe that they have an affective bond with their parents also tend to report feeling and acting in more independent and responsible ways, suggesting that an emotional connection with parents has an important influence on how adolescents negotiate this transition and move toward adulthood. Specifically, the ability to establish emotional autonomy while remaining connected in an affectionate relationship with parents predicts healthy current adjustment, and also increases the likelihood of later healthy adjustment and development (O'Connor, Allen, Bell and Hauser, 1996). Moreover, Wintre and Jaffe (2000) found that parenting style was significantly related to university students' overall psychological well being, but was not associated with specific measures of adjustment such as academic performance.

University provides an environment where alcohol is generally available despite legal age prohibitions; where most peers are drinking or are perceived to be drinking and where alcohol is available at many social events (Baer, Stacy and Larimer, 1991). It presents a period of high-risk for engaging in the abusive use of alcohol with nearly 90% of all students using alcohol (Johnston, O'Malley and Bachman, 1993). Many investigators have tried to identify the risk factors and causes of such behaviour. For example, risk factor research has explored the role of gender (Lo, 1995), family history of alcohol and drug use (Weitzman and Wechsler, 2000), and the influence of peers (Moronkola, 1995;) on university students' use of alcohol. Because the adverse consequences of drinking during university period are well documented (e.g., Wechsler, Davenport, Dowdall, Moeykens and Castillo, 1994), a consequence of these environmental features is that drinking becomes considered "normative" behaviour and abstinence considered "deviant" behaviour (Egbochuku, 2000). …