Original Research

Drug use and postgraduate students’ career prospects: Implications for career counselling intervention strategies

Thabiso Muswede, Cornelis J. Roelofse
The Journal for Transdisciplinary Research in Southern Africa | Vol 14, No 1 | a523 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/td.v14i1.523 | © 2018 Cornelis J. Roelofse, Thabiso Muswede | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 November 2017 | Published: 03 December 2018

About the author(s)

Thabiso Muswede, Department of Media, Communication and Information Studies, University of Limpopo, South Africa
Cornelis J. Roelofse, Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Limpopo, South Africa


The study investigates the effect of drug use on postgraduate students’ career prospects by exploring associated risks of drug use and subsequent implications for career counselling intervention strategies within a university context. Students’ awareness of the psychosocial and health risks of drug use, knowledge and use of existing drug intervention services as well as behavioural impediments to their career prospects are assessed. An exploratory design within the qualitative approach was adopted involving in-depth interviews with professional informants and drug users within the postgraduate student cohort. Interpretive phenomenological analysis was applied for the synthesis and formulation of discursive themes. The article notes that denial and lack of coping strategies, improper personal conduct and unresponsive behaviour; poor academic performance and incriminating personal profiles were major potential impediments to postgraduate students’ career prospects. It was further noted that the current interventions’ continued use of scare tactics and information-based programmes needed to undergo a systematic evaluation. The article calls for more inclusive intervention strategies based on the life skills approach to address poor social coping strategies, mundane decision-making, low self-esteem and weak peer pressure resistance mechanisms to enhance students’ sober habits and competitiveness in the job market.


career counselling; intervention strategy; drug use; risks; post graduate


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