The relationship between levels of depression and Substance use among students of tertiary Institutions in Taita Taveta County, Kenya
Mwanyika, Mseri Lawrian Lucas
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Depression and substance use are common co-occurring conditions. Sometimes depression has been found to be the precursor of substance use. The study focused on the relationship between levels of depression and substance use among students of tertiary institutions in Taita Taveta County, Kenya. Wendy Treynor’s Depression Theory was used to explain the variables. The study used a correlational research design because of two variables and their statistical relationship. The study was carried out in selected four tertiary institutions namely, C.I.T, S.M.T.C – Bura, K.M.T.C – Voi and T.I.T, all in Taita Taveta County (Kenya). CIT was chosen because it is the only institute of technology in the county, SMTC was selected because it is the only teachers’ college in the county and also a private college, managed by the Catholic Church. KMTC is the only other medical college in the county, and TIT is the only private institute of technology in the county, owned by an individual businessman. Each of the institutions has its uniqueness in terms of type of management, the professional training inclination, the students admitted and geographical location within the county. The study used a sample of 281 students from the selected institutions. Data was collected using questionnaires with a BDI depression standardized tool and ASSIST substance use standardized tool. Key Informant Interviews questionnaires for Principals, Deans of Students and tutors in charge of counseling programs were also used for staff. The captured data was analyzed using the Statistical Package of Social Sciences (SPSS version 25) and the R-Studio software. From the results, logistic regression revealed that depression is a statistically significant predictor of substance use among students in tertiary institutions (z = 4.797, p = 0.027 < 0.05). T-test results indicated that depression influences the usage of tobacco products (t = 5.089, p = .001); alcoholic beverages (t = 5.477, p < 0.000); cannabis (t = 7.440, p < 0.001); cocaine (t = 3.201, p < 0.000); inhalants (t = 2.997, p = .003); and hallucinogens (t = 1.600, p = 0.49). Further, logistic regression revealed that the relationship between depression and substance abuse is influenced by gender (z = -1.599, p = 0.011), age (z = -1.285), and marital status (z = -0.585, p = 0.049).Chi-square was used to test the null hypothesis led to the alternative hypothesis indicating a statistical relationship between depression and substance use in the respondents, using BDI and ASSIST tools. Data and results analysis showed there is positive and proportional statistical relationship between depression and substance use, the higher the depression level the more the substance use. It was recommended that tertiary institutions should have more mental health professionals to be involved in students’ welfare management in tertiary institutions. There is need to improve institutional capacities in terms of counseling rooms and competent staff to run effective mental health and psycho-social support services to students in tertiary institutions. Further studies should be done in the areas of the relationship between depression and other maladaptive behaviors amongst students of post-secondary education.
Africa Nazarene University