The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

3286.0: Monday, November 11, 2002 - Board 2

Abstract #42757

Seeing is not believing for college students: A report on a four-year social norms media project to reduce alcohol use

Kelly L. Mosher, BA1, Jannette Y. Berkley-Patton, MA1, Jannette Y. Berkley-Patton, MA1, Carrie Towns2, Kathleen McCluskey-Fawcett, PhD3, Heidi L. Hillman, MS1, and Heidi L. Hillman, MS1. (1) Social Norms Media Project, University of Kansas, 1450 Jayhawk Blvd., Rm. 36, Lawrence, KS 66045, 785-864-5433,, (2) Office of Institutional Research and Planning, University of Kansas, PO Box 505, Lawrence, KS 66045, (3) Provost Office, University of Kansas, 250 Strong Hall, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045

Many universities across the country have implemented social norms media campaigns as a successful strategy to reduce heavy alcohol use and related harm among their students. This strategy is based on the hypothesis that by providing correct information about peer alcohol use, students will correct their misperceptions and adjust their use to normative levels. We will present data on a social norms media project at the University of Kansas that did not achieve its intended goals to reduce heavy alcohol use. Data collected from over 1400 students each year in 1999, 2000, and 2001 generated the primary campaign message "Most KU students drink moderately or not at all (0-5 drinks) when they party." Results found fewer students drank moderately - from 66% (1999), to 63% (2000), then to 57% (2001). Inversely, drinking more than five drinks on occasion increased. Also, the average number of drinks on last occasion increased from 4 drinks to 5 drinks. Additionally, perceptions of others' alcohol use continued to be at least 2 drinks greater than the norm each year. However, data on negative consequences suggest that while consumption increased, students did not harm themselves or others due to their drinking. We will present further data (including 2002 data) on students' drinking behaviors, protective behaviors, negative consequences, and perceptions of other students' drinking. We will also discuss development of the campaign, lessons learned, and how students' perceptions of the campaign may have impacted results.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Alcohol, College Students

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: University of Kansas

Curbing College-Aged Drinking Poster Session

The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA