Title: Facilitators and Barriers of Discussing Drugs Use with Adolescents: Perspectives of Parents and Their Adolescents in Rubavu District, Rwanda

Authors: Dr James Ngamije (BTech, M.Tech. Env. Health, PhD), Dr Callixte Yadufashije (BSc, PDPH, MSc.CE, PhD)

 DOI :

Corresponding Author

Dr Callixte Yadufashije (BSc, PDPH, MSc.CE, PhD)

DVC for academic affairs, Rusizi International University, Rusizi, Rwanda

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Background: alcohol and other drugs (AOD) among children and adolescents are causes of increasing concern in Rwandan families. They are major contributors to crime, violence and to other social, health and economic problems. However, factors which might impact parent-adolescent communication about AOD, are unknown, and must be identified to effectively plan drug intervention in family setting. The purpose of this study was to identify the potential barriers and facilitators associated with parent-adolescent communication about AOD.

Methods: This study employed qualitative methods and community-based participatory research (CBPR) guided in large part by community members, in partnership with research and health practitioners from Imbuto Foundation and Rubavu Youth Friendly Center (RYFC). CBPR principles are aimed at improving the effectiveness of research by addressing locally relevant health issues and involve communities in every aspects of the research process. Through a systematic process, community participants and researchers work to achieve a shared understanding of facilitators and barriers of communication about AOD between parent and adolescent. Purposive sampling procedure was used to select participants for the study.

Results: A total of 20 families composed of (17fathers, 20 mothers and adolescents’ between 15 to 24 years participated in individual interview and focus group discussions.  Parents and adolescents perceived the following barriers to parent-adolescent communication about AOD: (1) lack of AOD-related knowledge and skills; (2) limited parent adolescent collaboration and communication around AOD; (3) concerns about negative adolescent reaction and limited adolescent motivation to discuss AOD issues and (4) logistical issues. Suggested facilitators of parent-adolescent communication about AOD related to: (i) Suggested facilitators included improved parents’ knowledge, skills, communication and collaboration, expanded process of monitoring and parenting roles, utilizing support and focusing on benefits of communicating.

Conclusions: Parent-adolescent communication about drugs should include consideration of the following elements: comprehensive parents and other caregiver education on AOD, parenting and communication skills; and ongoing partnerships to facilitate generation of addition evidence for parent adolescent communication efficacy in family setting.

Keywords: Parent-adolescent communication, AOD, CBPR, Qualitative research.