Alcohol consumption behaviour of young people in Thailand: perspectives of stakeholders in Petchaburi Province
This thesis examines the issue of young people and alcohol consumption in order to understand their behaviour and experiences in Thailand. Alcohol consumption is socially accepted as a pleasurable activity in many countries world-wide. Alcohol consumption among young people in Thailand has been affected by the spread of western culture, which has encouraged an acceptance of drinking alcohol as being fashionable and as a means of promoting social relationships. This study aimed to gain detailed knowledge of the alcohol consumption behaviour of secondary school students in Petchaburi Province, Thailand, using a survey and participatory action research to understand the perspectives of a variety of stakeholders in one community towards young people’s behaviour and alcohol consumption. Both quantitative and qualitative methods were adopted in order to explore and interpret students’ and stakeholders’ perspectives. The survey was the first phase of the research and used a questionnaire to identify the characteristics and problems of the alcohol consumption behaviour of 845 secondary school students aged 15-19 sampled from one school in each of the eight districts of Petchaburi Province. Logistic regression was used to select one school for conducting Participatory Action Research (PAR) in one community “C” in phase two of the research. An ecological approach was applied for capturing a variety of perspectives, at the intrapersonal, interpersonal, institutional, community, and public policy level using focus groups and in-depth interviews with eight students, eight parents, three health professionals, two teachers, one community leader, one policeman and one Buddhist monk. The study findings demonstrated that alcohol consumption among young people was common. The data showed that 45.9% of participants had had an alcoholic drink in the previous thirty days. Students usually drank on Fridays and Saturdays with their gangs. All or almost all of their close friends were reported as having an alcoholic drink. Most students were affected by peer pressure, some students copied their family members’ drinking behaviour, and some of them were influenced by fashion, community culture and advertising. Moreover, students who drank alcohol demonstrated the negative consequences of drinking. Drinking at an early age was defined by all stakeholders in the selected Community C as unpleasant and intolerable behaviour. Students started to develop strategies in order to access alcohol. Moreover, alcohol was readily available due to the lack of restrictions being enforced in community shops by government policy, alongside inconsistent enforcement of the Alcohol Act. The development of prevention strategies was recommended for action at all levels. This includes within families, in schools, and within affected communities through the introduction of policies such as the restriction of alcohol sales and advertising, and by raising awareness among young people and their communities. Finally, Buddhist practices were discussed as a key element in the development of an intervention programme to reduce the problematic drinking behaviour of young people.