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Addiction. 1996 Jun;91(6):807-14.

Cultural orientation and adolescents' alcohol use in Zimbabwe.

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Research Center for Health Promotion, University of Bergen, National Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway.


A classroom survey was conducted in June 1994 among 3061 secondary school students in four provinces in Zimbabwe, with the main objective of measuring health behaviours, school performance and environmental and cultural factors as predictors for drug use. This paper presents an analysis of the relationship between cultural orientation and alcohol use. The survey instrument was based on previous studies undertaken in Zimbabwe and in Europe and adapted to the local situation. A two-staged stratified random sampling strategy distinguished between four different socio-cultural groups. Standardized instructions were given in classrooms by a trained research team. Respondents' mean ages were 14.9 years for boys and 15.1 years for girls, and 51.4% were boys. For a number of core questions, test-retest reliability was shown to be satisfactory. A 14-item scale focusing on language, mass media and music preferences was constructed to measure cultural orientation. Principal component analysis revealed two distinct factors with low interfactor correlation and acceptable scale reliability (alpha), one representing Western orientation and the other Zimbabwean or traditional cultural orientation. Zimbabwean orientation was found to be associated with lower alcohol use, whereas western orientation was associated with higher probability for alcohol use.

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