An investigation of teachers’ perceptions of and attitudes towards alcohol and cannabis use among second level pupils and school based prevention

McCormack, Aoife (2013) An investigation of teachers’ perceptions of and attitudes towards alcohol and cannabis use among second level pupils and school based prevention. Masters thesis, Waterford Institute of Technology.

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The use of alcohol and drugs among adolescents is of increasing public health and social concern. The normative relationship between young Irish people and harmful substances must be challenged (United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) Ireland, Changing the Future, 2011). Schools provide the perfect platform for the implementation of health education-prevention initiatives and must be facilitated with effective prevention programs (Fletcher et al., 2010). Irish school-based drug education-prevention is currently provided within the remit of the Social Personal Health Education (SPHE). However the effectiveness of the SPHE programme is often called into question, highlighting a number of issues which will be discussed in detail at a later stage. This research aimed to investigate teachers’ perspectives in Ireland on their role, and that of the school, in the delivery of school-based alcohol and cannabis education-prevention. The ultimate goal of this research is to make recommendations in order to develop the responsibility of teaching staff within schools to recognize, help and advise pupils who are using or who may be at risk of experimenting with substances such as alcohol and cannabis. This cross-sectional study was conducted in 13 second level schools located in the Southern region of the Republic of Ireland. The questionnaire developed by the research team at the Haute Ecole Pedagogique [HEP], Lausanne, Switzerland, collected a range of data including; demographics, information on the teaching of SPHE and evidence regarding teachers’ participation, attitudes and perceptions of school-based alcohol and cannabis education-prevention. Over half of participating teachers had never partaken in drug education activities despite majorities within the sample recognizing the importance and expressing their interest in alcohol and cannabis prevention. Teachers levels of satisfaction with their school were positively correlated with attitude toward the teacher and school’s role in alcohol and cannabis education prevention. The need for the implementation of school drug policies, along with training, support and information for all teachers is highlighted in these findings. The need for continued revision of the SPHE programme and development of whole school integrated approaches involving a shared organisation wide approach to pupils substance education-prevention is evident throughout.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Alcohol use, drug use
Departments or Groups: *NONE OF THESE*
Divisions: School of Health Sciences > Department of Health, Sport and Exercise Studies
Depositing User: Derek Langford
Date Deposited: 15 Oct 2013 14:01
Last Modified: 22 Aug 2016 10:27

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