Depression Symptoms among Family Members of Nyaope Users in the City of Tshwane, South Africa

Maphuti Carol Madiga*, Kebogile Mokwena

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Substance abuse brings major negative social and health impacts in South Africa. Nyaope, a cocktail drug commonly used in the Tshwane townships, has been well documented to be highly addictive and very difficult to quit. The resultant difficulties include financial, social, and mental, specifically depression and anxiety. This study aims to quantify the depression levels among family members with nyaope users in Tshwane, South Africa. The study used a quantitative cross-sectional design to collect data in nine Tshwane communities. The patient health questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) screening tool and demographic data collection questionnaires were used to collect data from a sample of 390 male and female family members who included mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, partners, and siblings of nyaope users, and who share a home with them. The ages of the participants ranged from 18 to 87 years, with a mean age of 47 years, while the ages of the nyaope users ranged from 17 to 55 years, with a mean age of 30 years. Depression scores ranged from 0 to 27 with a mean of 7. Depressive symptoms, as measured by the PHQ-9 scores of 5 and above, were reported by 49% of the sample. The levels of depression symptoms ranged from mild to severe, and the severity was higher among female, unemployed, and single participants. As with many others, these participants were not diagnosed and therefore were not treated. The study, therefore, identified that living with nyaope users is associated with the development of different levels of depression symptoms and has resulted in reduced quality of life among family members. The study recommends interventions that intentionally focus on families who live with individuals who are addicted to nyaope. Those interventions should focus on screening and treatment of depression and other mental disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4097
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022


  • South Africa
  • depression symptoms
  • family
  • nyaope
  • patient health questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9)


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