Recent efforts to reduce alcohol abuse and associated risks have been based on the social norms media approach. Research has shown an overestimation of perceived drinking norms tends to be associated with increased risk of alcohol abuse. The social norms approach attempts to correct this misperception and establish true norms by using positive, empowering media messages to broadcast factual information of students' alcohol use. These messages are delivered in primary media outlets that target college students (e.g., university newspapers). The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of a social norms media campaign on reducing the level of alcohol use and associated risks among college students. Survey responses on alcohol use and consequences were collected from a stratified sample of over 1,600 students in spring 1999. As seen in other studies, respondents overestimated the level of alcohol consumption of other students on their campus. Survey results were used to develop media messages stating that the most students (66%) drank moderately or not at all when they partied. The media messages were communicated through the university newspaper, posters and table tents in residence halls, and campaign products in Greek houses. Survey results, use of survey data to develop media messages, and media campaign implementation will be discussed. Also, first year findings from the spring 2000 survey will be reviewed along with lessons learned.
Learning Objectives: Sesion participants will 1) better understand the social norms media approach, 2) learn how to develop media messages from behavioral alcohol surveys, and 3) describe a process for developing a media campaign to reduce heavy alcohol use among college students
Keywords: College Students, Alcohol Use
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: This project has been funded by a grant from the Kansas Health Foundtion
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.
The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA