Online Program

Reality check: Evaluating the impact of a parent-focused underage drinking prevention campaign

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 11:15 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Erin Dillon, MA, Cambridge Public Health Department, Cambridge, MA
Gisela Rots, MSc, Education Development Center, Waltham, MA
Scott Formica, MA, Social Science Research and Evaluation, Inc., Burlington, MA
Amy Dunaway, MPH, MA, MU School of Journalism, Health Communication Research Center, Columbia, MO
Stacey King, MS, Cambridge Public Health Department, Cambridge, MA
Keisha Ormond, MPH, Cambridge Prevention Coalition, City of Cambridge, Cambridge, MA
Studies show that parent-child communication is a protective factor against underage alcohol use. This is sometimes interpreted as meaning that parents need to communicate a no-use message to their children. However, many factors affect how parents communicate with their children, including parents' own experiences, their attitudes about the role of alcohol in society, concerns about hypocrisy, and perception of community norms. In 2009, the Cambridge Prevention Coalition, in collaboration with the Cambridge Public Health Department, launched Reality Check, a social marketing campaign aimed at parents of middle school students. The goal was to engage parents in talking with their children about alcohol and to set boundaries. Campaign messages and resources sought to increase parents' self-efficacy to talk with their children, reduce access to alcohol at home, and delay the onset of drinking. The final phase of Reality Check was evaluated with a questionnaire mailed to a representative random sample of the roughly 1,100 parents/guardians of Cambridge public school youth in grades 6-8. Among the estimated 366 parents who saw at least one of the Reality Check ads, 33.9% took some action (i.e., talked to their own child(ren); more closely monitored alcohol at home; talked to other parents; sought out more information about youth alcohol use). This presentation focuses on the message development process, and examines effectiveness of different message channels. We present evaluation results of the Reality Check campaign and its impact on behavioral outcomes. Branding is also discussed as a method for sustaining project activities and outcomes.

Learning Areas:

Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning

Learning Objectives:
Describe the development of campaign messages and strategies for dissemination. Assess the effectiveness of a range of campaign distribution channels, including new media. Identify programmatic elements to support campaign branding. Exvaluate behavioral outcomes of a social marketing campaign.

Keyword(s): Social Marketing, Substance Abuse Prevention

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have coordinated a community substance abuse prevention social marketing campaign. I have also attended a Social Marketing Institute and have received training on social marketing best practices.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.