An important determinant of alcohol and tobacco use is the adolescent's social network, which has not been explored among out of school youth (OSY). OSY are adolescents not currently enrolled in school and have not completed their schooling. This study aims to qualitatively understand how OSY's social networks support or constrain alcohol and tobacco use. Respondent-driven sampling was used to select 41 OSY (aged 13-20 years) for individual in-depth interviews in a South African urban area. The data were analysed using content analysis. Smoking and drinking friends, family close in age to OSY that drank and smoked, and lack of parental support were associated with alcohol and tobacco use among OSY. Household norms, romantic partners and non-smoking or non-drinking friends were suggested to mitigate alcohol and tobacco use. Understanding how the social network of OSY plays a role in alcohol and tobacco use is useful for gaining an insight into the profile of OSY at risk for alcohol and tobacco use. Registration of OSY youth and community-based peer led programmes that include influential OSY family and friends could be beneficial.
- ADOLESCENT CIGARETTE-SMOKING
- SUBSTANCE USE