Effects of Substance Abuse on Anti-Social Behaviors of Youth in Accra

Bachelor Thesis, 2015

49 Pages



Title Page Pages


Declaration of Authenticity


Tables of Contents

List of Tables and Figure

1.1 Background to the study
1.2 Statement of the problem
1.3 Purpose of the study
1.4 Objectives of the study
1.5 Research questions/Hypotheses
1.6 Significance of the study
1.7 Delimitation /Scope of the study
1.8 Limitations of the study
1.9 Definitions of terms
1.10 Organizations of the study

2.1 Introduction
2.2 Theoretical Framework
2.3 Conceptual Framework
2.4 Review of relevant and related Studies
2.3.1 Gender and substance abuse
2.3.2 Substance abuse and adolescent's adjustment
2.3.3 Substance abuse and anti-social behaviour
2.3.4 Perception of substance abuse
2.3.5 Endorsement of substance abuse

3.1 Research design
3.2 Population
3.3 Sample and sampling techniques
3.4 Instrumentation
3.5 Validity
3.6 Reliability
3.7 Data analyses procedure
3.8 Ethical Consideration

4.2 Data Presentation and Discussion of Results
4.3 Anti-social Behaviors Promotion
4.4 Correlation Test

5.1 Summary
5.2 Conclusions
5.3 Recommendation


The purpose of this research was to find out the effects of substance abuse on antisocial behaviors of youth in Accra. The main instrument used for the collection of data was survey research method. A simple random sample technique was used in the selection of 100 participants ranging between the ages of 13-24 years using both descriptive and inferential statistics in analysing data. The findings of the research indicated that substance abuse do have a significant influence or effect on anti-social behaviors of adolescents in Accra. Analysis revealed that there is a significant difference between males and females with regards to anti-social behaviors. Moreover the frequency of substance abuse correlated positively with anti-social behaviors. It is therefore recommended that counselling department and clinical psychologists department should be established in order for young people to seek professional assistance in dealing with strong emotions associated with anti­social behaviors.These departments will enable both counsellors and psychologists to function effectively in helping youth in the country to better hand strong emotions associated with substance abuse and antisocial behaviors thereby helping them to better cope with peers, friends, family members and he community at large.


I am most grateful to God Almighty for his loving care and guidance given me that made it possible for this work to be complete. I also extend my sincere gratitude to my supervisor Dr Francis Annor, the guidance, support and encouragement given me during those difficult moments.

Again I wish to express my appreciations to the Dean and Head of Human Department and Psychology of Regent University College of Science and Technology Dr Franklin. N. Glozah also for his support and advice. Finally I wish to express my gratitude to all those who helped me in diverse ways throughout the entire work for their criticisms, encouragement and corrections .


Table 1. Summary of independent t- test comparing male substance abusers and female substance abusers on antisocial behavior exhibition

Table 2. Summary of independent t- test comparing substance abusers and non-- substance abusers on antisocial behaviors promotion

Table 3. Summary of Pearson correlation test correlating the frequency of substance abused with anti-social behaviors

Table 4. Summary of Demographic Characteristics of the sample



1.1 Background to the study

The World Health Organization (WHO) defined substance abuse as ‘' the harmful or hazardous use of psychoactive substances, including alcohol and illicit drugs'' (1948)

According to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) fourth edition issued by the American Psychiatry Association (APA) substance abuse refers to a maladaptive pattern of substance use leading to clinical impairment or distress, as manifested by one or more of the following occurring within a twelve (12) month period:

a. Recurrent substance use resulting in a failure to fulfil major roles and obligations at work, school or home such as repeated absences or poor work performance related to substance use, substance-related absences, suspensions or expulsions from school, neglect of children or household.
b. Recurrent substance use in situations in which it is physically hazardous such as driving an automobile or operating a machine when impaired by substance use.
c. Recurrent substance related legal problems such as arrests for substance related disorderly conduct.
d. Continuous substance use despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of the substance (e.g., arguments with spouse about consequences of intoxication, physical fights)

The effects of substance abuse among adolescents highly correlates with anti-social behaviours such as armed robbery, prostitution, rape and gang formation and others which ripe millions of dollars from the country's budget thereby slowing down national development in the long run. Substance abuse and delinquency often share the common factors of school and family problems, negative peer groups, lack of neighbourhood social controls, and a history of physical or sexual abuse (Hawkins et al., 1987; Wilson and Howell, 1993). It is evident that the initiation into the use of substances like cigarette, alcohol, Indian hemps and others is most likely to occur during teenage or adolescent; however the experimentation of substances by older adolescents is common.

Moreover, it is noted that majority of children and teenagers consume high amount of alcohol and other illicit drugs with peers (EMCDDA, 2009). This explains why the prevalence of substance use is usually high among specific population groups such as juvenile, adults and old people who reside in disadvantaged neighbourhoods or low socio-economic status with the use of substances like as cocaine and heroin appeared to be strongly influenced by the location and supply of these substances (Quilgars et al., 2008; EMCDDA, 2008). Moreover there is a decline in grades due to absenteeism from school and other activities which increases the chances of becoming a school drop-out. (Hawkins, Catalano, Miller, 1992) The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) raised concern about substance abuse and its consequences in sub-Saharan as early as 1999 in a publication documented ‘' the Drug Nexus in Africa'' indicating the trend in drugs production, trafficking through-out the region and the consumption of substances such as heroin, cocaine, cannabis including others. This report suggested that the use of these harmful substances should be a major concern but not a minor issue as it was assumed (UNODDCP, 1999).

The expansion of substance uses and trafficking in the region can be linked to lapses in the functions of relevant bodies such as the international air and sea connections, international trade links, and law enforcement. This has resulted in the increase and expansion of the illegal drug market and consumption of different drugs (Beyrer et al., 2000).

Currently in Ghana increasing advertisement on alcoholic beverages is drawing a lot of young people attention. In fact Indian hemps (wee) are currently secretly grown locally in some communities in Ghana and are therefore very cheap to purchase in addition to alcohol and tobacco. The availability and distribution of these substances is spreading from very limited population to a wide range of people especially among adolescents between the ages of 11-19 years. According to the Narcotics Control Board report (GNCB, 2014) about 70% of youth in Ghana abuse substances such as alcohol, tobacco, cocaine and Indian hemps.

Interventions in the form of substance abuse sensitization, education and discussion groups in schools and targeted vulnerable communities which are referred to as ‘selective prevention' is known to increase policy visibility and maturity in Ghana in terms of design and evaluation strategies.

1.2 Statement of the problem

Substance abuse has been linked to anti-social behaviours, depression, conduct problems, personality disorders, suicidal thoughts and learning disability. In the USA, male under the ages of 18 years arrested for drug offenses (e.g., sales, possession) had the highest rate of positive substance tests as compared to young people arrested for other criminals. However, a substantial rate of illicit substance use was also found among youth who committed violent, property, and other crimes (National Institute of Justice, 1996). It is noted that adolescents who abuse alcohol and other substances usually withdraw from school and community activities thereby depriving their families, friends and communities of the positive impacts they might otherwise have made.

In Ghana and the continent of Africa much attention has not been given to study the effects of substance abuse on the anti-social behaviour of youth, although it's subtly acknowledged. It's therefore very important for research to be undertaken in this field in order to examine the correlation and prevalence rate, which will assist in making appropriate social interventions.

1.3 Purpose of the study

The purpose of the study was to examine whether there is a relationship between substance use and anti-social behaviour. This dissertation highlights on issues arising from substance abuse, anti-social behaviours, health, roles of media and government policy relating to youth.

Despite the fact that issues of drugs abuse on health and behaviour of youth has been known for sometimes, research on the effects of drugs abuse on the health and behaviour of youth in Ghana is still limited.

1.4 Objectives of the study

The objectives of the study were:

To examine whether there is an existing relationship between anti-social behaviour and substance abuse.

To identify key factors responsible for substance abuse and antisocial behaviors among youth in Ghana.

To provide direction to educational bodies and policy makers to develop effective interventions methodsto prevent and treat substance abuse among youth in Ghana and reduce the prevalence rate of substance abuse among youth in Ghana.

1.5 Research Hypotheses

In the view of the literature review, the following hypotheses will be tested;

1. Males substance users are more likely to exhibit antisocial behaviors than females' substance users.
2. Substance abusers are more likely to promote antisocial behaviors as compare to non­substance abusers.
3. The frequency of substance abused is more likely to increase with anti-social behaviors.

1.6 Significance of the study

The importance of this research cannot be overlook simply because of the following factors:

The research provides information about the aetiology, effects and consequences of substance abuse on anti-social behaviors in the society. This study can provide insight about the prevalence, sex and age range distribution of substance abuse and antisocial behaviors which can inform legal and health practitioners about youth health.

These pools of information in the long term can serve as source of reference and enables lawmakers to enforce appropriate legal sanctions in combating crime and drugs abuse for the welfare of mankind.

1.7 Delimitation or scope of the study

This research ‘'the effects of substance abuse on the antisocial behaviors of youth in Ghana” aims at unravelling and establishing key factors responsible for the display of antisocial behaviors with key variables of concern being substance abuse and antisocial behaviors. The independent variable in this research is substance abuse while the dependent variable is antisocial behaviors.

The research does not concern itself with extraneous variables such as unemployment, genetic predisposition, or mental dysfunction (psychopath) which might have major effect on antisocial behaviors One hundred (100) participants voluntarily completed questionnaires concerning their involvement with substances and anti-social behaviors.

1.8 Limitations of the study

In most African societies substance abusers are not respected and usually considered morally flawed. Due to this majority of them do not feel comfortable to discuss or share information relating to substance abuse especially their personal issues. Therefore it is possible that respondents may not give accurate information about their use of substances due to social- cultural norms, attitudes and behaviors associated with substance abusers.

Secondly it was also difficult to establish the mental state of participants before the questionnaire was given out. This flaw can also limit the validity and reliability of the study if information gathered came from participants with mental disorders due to high level of substance abuse like alcohol, cigarette and Indian Hemps or wee etc...

Moreover statistical data on the effects of substance abuse and antisocial behaviors of youth in Ghana are rarely available or hardly accessible.

Finally the research might not be representative of the entire youth population in Ghana because the study on considered students from Accra Academy Secondary School which is just a fragment of the entire students' population or youth in Ghana and therefore this study cannot be generalized to other settings in the country.

1.9 Definitions of terms

For the purpose of the study, the following operational definitions were used:

Adolescent: A young person between the ages of 11 - 19.

Youth: A Person between the ages of 18 - 40.

UNODCCP: United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention

Psychoactive Substances: Refers to chemical substances that alter mood, behaviors, perception and mental functions.

Substance abuse: Refers to the intake of substance or drugs with methods which are harmful to themselves and others or the use of illegal drugs. For the purpose of this research, substances abused are limited to the following: alcohol, tobacco, Indian hemps (wee), cannabis and cocaine.

Anti-Social Behaviors: Refers to using violence to put one's needs over that of others such as lack of empathy for others, feel comfortable breaking laws, exploit others. Antisocial behaviors may be overt, involving aggressive actions against siblings, peers, parents, teachers, or other adults, such as verbal abuse, bullying and hitting; or covert, involving aggressive actions against property, such as theft, vandalism, and fire-setting. Covert antisocial behaviors in early childhood may include noncompliance, sneaking, lying, or secretly destroying another's property. Antisocial behaviors also include drug and alcohol abuse and high-risk activities involving self and others.

1.10 Organizations of the study

The dissertation is organized into five (5) chapters namely: introduction, Literature review, Methodology, Results and Discussions and finally summary, Conclusions and recommendations. Chapter one will provide the background to the study and explain the problem that influenced the researcher to undertake the study. Based on the problem statement discovered, the objectives of the study are stated including the significance of the study.

The Chapter will be dedicated to literature on the subject area, reviewed previous work done by other scholars/researchers in the field and concluded with organization of the study.

The third chapter outlines the methodology used in the study, sampling procedures as well as analytical tools.

Chapter four presents the discussions of the data collected, analysis of the data and interpretation of the data.

The final chapter presents the findings, conclusions and recommendations. On the basis of the findings, some conclusions shall be drawn and recommendations made.



2.1 Introduction

This review is an integrative summary of the current literature and research pertaining to the effects of substance abuse on anti-social behaviors of adolescents in Ghana. This review is related to key variables such as substance abuse and anti-social behaviors with reference to various theories surrounding them.

Although substance abuse is a common problem in communities worldwide, there is growing public perceptions that substance abuse, crime and antisocial behaviors especially among young people is getting out of hand (Roberts & Indermaur 2009). In recent times anti-social behaviors among young people have been considered as an issue of serious concern to governments, organizations, communities, families and individuals due to negative consequences. This is because young people involvement in anti-social behaviors can last throughout adolescence into adulthood thereby becoming a serious social issue with persistent negative consequences for the individual, family and the community at large(Armitage, 2002)

2.2 Theoretical Framework

Some of the theories that are related to substance abuse and anti- social behaviors will be examined critically to provide a clear and comprehensive understanding about the research.


Excerpt out of 49 pages


Effects of Substance Abuse on Anti-Social Behaviors of Youth in Accra
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
effects, substance, abuse, anti-social, behaviors, youth, accra
Quote paper
Joseph Wilson (Author), 2015, Effects of Substance Abuse on Anti-Social Behaviors of Youth in Accra, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/941132


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