Zephaniah Navangi Makokha, Enos Barasa Mukadi, Robert Mwebi Bisonga


Large population of youths in informal settlement in Kenya are involved in a number of social vices. These vices may include but not limited to robbery with violence, early marriages, dropping out of school and joining outlawed gangs. Youth involvement in social vices presents great concern to parents, government and non-governmental organizations. With increased prevalence of social vices in informal settlements in Kenya, this study was motivated to investigate the influence of psychosocial factors on drug abuse among the youths in Mathare informal settlements of Nairobi County, Kenya. This study sought to determine the effect of stress level as a psychosocial factor on drug abuse among the youths in Mathare informal settlement. The unit of analysis were persons of both genders falling between 18 years and 35 years of age. The target population was 17,894 youths of which a sample of 391 respondents was selected using proportionate stratified random sampling method. Data was collected using structured questionnaires and analysed using the linear regression analysis where hypotheses were tested at the .05 level of significance. The Content Validity Index (CVI) was utilized for the purposes of validity. The validity of the instruments was checked by the researcher who also sought the opinion of experts from the School of Education in Laikipia University. The reliability coefficients for questionnaire were estimated through Cronbach’s alpha. The resultant alpha for youth questionnaire was r= .827. The questionnaires were considered reliable after yielding a reliability coefficient alpha of at least 0.70. Both the descriptive statistics and inferential statistics was used by the study. The descriptive statistics that were used included the mean, standard deviations and frequency distributions. From the data analysis it was evident that stress level contributes to 2.8% of drug abuse cases among youth in Mathare informal settlements. The study recommends that county Government of Nairobi to economically empower the community of people with emphasis on the youths. This will help them think beyond immediate daily survival and assert greater control over their resources and life choices, especially decisions in investment in health, housing and education.

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psychosocial factors drug abuse, informal settlements, stress level, youth

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