Date of Award


Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science / Bachelor of Teaching (Honours) BSc/BTch (Hons)


Education & Science



First Advisor

Cedric Greive


130106 Secondary Education, 170103 Educational Psychology


Adolescence is a time of great physical and psychological change. During this phase of life individuals are particularly susceptible to pressures to take risks and experiment. However, many adolescents who experiment with certain chemical substances can become habitual users, leading to serious health problems later in life. Adolescents are also under pressure to conform to society's ideals in terms of appearance, and some try to achieve these ideals by developing disordered eating habits. This study investigates adolescent engagement in alcohol use, cigarette smoking, steroid use, and patterns of diet among students in two Christian high schools.

A questionnaire was constructed and handed out to students from the two Christian schools. The data were then collected and analysed. It was found that the number of students who had experimented with alcohol at schools from the denomination under study had increased dramatically in the past ten years. It was also found that the incidence of experimentation with smoking was almost as high as for the general population of adolescents. Steroid use was lower than for American counterparts, and the incidence of diet was lower than was to be expected from the literature.

However, it can be seen that adolescents attending Christian schools are not immune from the pressures adolescents face to engage in risk behaviour, and that although students attending these schools seem more resilient to the pressures, they are still at levels high enough for concern and future research needs to be conducted to more fully investigate the problem.


Used by permission: the author.

A print copy of this thesis is held in the Avondale College Library (SC Theses 362.290835 M13).