The increasing levels and more frequent use of alcohol among females, especially those in younger age groups, is a worldwide concern. An in-depth understanding of this phenomenon is, however, limited. This study aimed to explore the factors influencing alcohol use among female adolescent students as guided by the ecological systems theory of Bronfenbrenner. Data were collected from 25 female high school students in Grade 9 in the Western Cape, South Africa, using five individual semi-structured interviews and two focus group discussions with each group comprising 10 students. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the data. The findings of the study indicated that participants begin drinking at an early age and due to low self-esteem, which makes them prone to peer influence. Female adolescents are also influenced by various factors residing within the microsystem (family members and peers), mesosystem (lack of parental attention, weak mother-to-daughter relationship, influence of peers and dating partners), exosystem (media advertisement and lifestyle of celebrities), macrosystem (change in societal roles), and chronosystem (transition to higher education). Interventions are needed in schools to help female adolescents resist peer pressure and cope with the changing environment of high school. Also, parents should be educated on the influence of their drinking behaviour on their children in order for them to be more cautious when drinking at home. Adolescent students will benefit from educational materials on the harmfulness of alcohol use.
- alcohol use
- female adolescent students
- high school student/adolescent