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Alcohol and Social Media use among university students in Uganda: Perceptions, patterns and experiences, and the feasibility of social media based interventions for alcohol prevention

PhD project The project aims to assess and explore university students’ perceptions, patterns and experiences of alcohol and social media use. Possible links between alcohol and social media use among university students will be explored. This project will also explore opportunities regarding use of social media-based interventions for alcohol prevention among university students.

There is evidence of associations between alcohol and social media use among young people. However, most studies are conducted in developed countries, thus, there is no in-depth understanding of how social media may influence alcohol use including among young people in low income countries such as Uganda. It is also not clear how the alcohol industry, which is expanding in Uganda, uses social media to increase alcohol use in youth such as university students.

PhD Student

Edwinah Atusingwize
Doctoral student
E-mail
Email

Project overview

Project period:

2019-02-01 2023-02-28

Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Department of Culture and Media Studies, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health

External partners

Makerere University School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Uganda

External funding

Familjen Erling-Perssons Stiftelse

Project description

This PhD-project will use qualitative and quantitative methods to provide information that aims at filling the current gap, guide policy and practice including intervention designs for alcohol prevention in universities in Uganda.

 

Background 

Alcohol consumption accounts for approximately 5% of the global burden of disease according to WHO. Uganda is among countries with the highest average consumption per capita of approximately 10 liters of pure alcohol per year, yet its alcohol industry is rapidly growing with marketing and distribution strategies that entice young populations. Young people are reported to drink for many reasons including pleasure and social identity, some of these reasons have also been reflected on social media.

Social media is one of the growing communication channels being adopted by young people including students; for sharing academic information and creating social networks. However, available evidence including a systematic review shows associations between alcohol and social media use in young people. Although the cause-effect relationship is not known, the review indicates that alcohol-related content on social media has been linked to alcohol use, alcohol-related problems, cravings, and clinical measures of risk for alcoholism.

The significant gap is that such data is lacking for low-income countries, such as Uganda. There is no in-depth understanding of how social networking on social media sites may influence alcohol use among young people in Uganda. In addition, it is not clear how the alcohol industry, which is expanding in Uganda maybe using social media in order to increase alcohol use by university students. This project therefore aims to map university students’ alcohol and social media use. This project will also explore students’ perspectives on opportunities regarding use of social media-based interventions for alcohol prevention among university students. The project will seek to provide information to fill current gaps and to inform policy, good practice and intervention design for alcohol prevention with a focus on university students. The study findings will inform future alcohol research in Uganda and hopefully also other similar settings.

Objectives

The general objective is to explore perceptions, patterns and experiences of alcohol and social media use, and the feasibility of social media-based alcohol prevention interventions among university students at Makerere University, in Uganda.

Specific Objective  

  1. To assess prevalence, patterns and associations of alcohol and social media use
  2. To explore university students’ perceptions about alcohol and social media use 
  3. To explore experiences of university students regarding alcohol and social media use 
  4. To explore student perspectives on possibilities and opportunities of using social media-based interventions for alcohol prevention among university students

External funding