Conduct campus-wide social norms campaign
Under this strategy, a campus conducts a campus-wide awareness campaign that informs students about actual quantity and frequency of alcohol use among their fellow students, with the intent of changing their perception of what is normal or acceptable. (NOTE: Strategy does not seek to reduce alcohol availability, one of the most effective ways to decrease alcohol use and its consequences.)
Effectiveness: = Lower effectiveness
Cost: $$ = Mid-range
Barriers: # = Lower
Research Amount: **** = 5 or more longitudinal studies
Public Health Reach: Broad
Staffing Expertise Needed: Coordinator
Target Population: All students
Research Population: College
Effectiveness ratings are based on estimated success in achieving targeted outcomes. Cost ratings are based on a consensus among research team members of the relative program and staff costs for adoption, implementation, and maintenance of a strategy. Actual costs will vary by institution, depending on size, existing programs, and other campus and community factors. Barriers to implementing a strategy include cost and opposition, among other factors. Public health reach refers to the number of students that a strategy affects. Strategies with a broad reach affect all students or a large group of students (e.g., all underage students); strategies with a focused reach affect individuals or small groups of students (e.g., sanctioned students). Research amount/quality refers to the number and design of studies.
- Campo S, Brossard D, Frazer MS, Marchell T, Lewis D, & Talbot J. Are social norms campaigns really magic bullets? Assessing the effects of students’ misperceptions on drinking behavior. Health Communication, 15(4):481–97, 2003.
- Clapp JD, Lange JE, Russell C, Shillington A, & Voas RB. A failed norms social marketing campaign. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 64(3):409–14, 2003.
- Dejong W, Schneider SK, Towvim LG, Murphy MJ, Doerr EE, Simonsen NR, et al. A multisite randomized trial of social norms marketing campaigns to reduce college student drinking. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 67(6):868–79, 2006.
- DeJong W, Schneider SK, Towvim LG, Murphy MJ, Doerr EE, Simonsen NR, et al. A multisite randomized trial of social norms marketing campaigns to reduce college student drinking: A replication failure. Substance Abuse, 30(2):127–40, 2009.
- Glider P, Midyett SJ, Mills-Novoa B, Johannessen K, & Collins C. Challenging the collegiate rite of passage: A campus-wide social marketing media campaign to reduce binge drinking. Journal of Drug Education, 31(2):207–20, 2001.
- Gomberg L, Schneider SK, & DeJong W. Evaluation of a social norms marketing campaign to reduce high-risk drinking at the University of Mississippi. American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 27(2):375–89, 2001.
- Granfield R. Alcohol use in college: Limitations on the transformation of social norms. Addiction Research & Theory, 13(3):281–92, 2005.
- Mattern J & Neighbors C. Social norms campaigns: Examining the relationship between changes in perceived norms and changes in drinking levels. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 65(4):489–93, 2004.
- Paek HJ & Hove T. Determinants of underage college student drinking: Implications for four major alcohol reduction strategies. Journal of Health Communication, 17(6):659–76, 2012.
- Polonec LD, Major AM, & Atwood LE. Evaluating the believability and effectiveness of the social norms message “Most students drink 0 to 4 drinks when they party.” Health Communication, 20(1):23–34, 2006.
- Smith SW, Atkin CK, Martel D, Allen R, & Hembroff L. A social judgment theory approach to conducting formative research in a social norms campaign. Communication Theory, 16(1):141–52, 2006.
- Swanson DJ, Zegers KM, & Zwaska AA. Implementing a social norms approach to reduce alcohol abuse on campus: Lessons learned in the shadow of 'the world's largest six-pack'. Social Science Journal, 41(4):621–35, 2004.
- Thombs DL, Dotterer S, Olds RS, Sharp KE, & Raub CG. A close look at why one social norms campaign did not reduce student drinking. Journal of American College Health, 53(2):61–8, 2004.
- Thombs DL & Hamilton MJ. Effects of a social norm feedback campaign on the drinking norms and behavior of Division I student-athletes. Journal of Drug Education, 32(3):227–44, 2002.
- Wechsler H, Nelson TF, Lee JE, Seibring M, Lewis C, & Keeling RP. Perception and reality: A national evaluation of social norms marketing interventions to reduce college students' heavy alcohol use. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 64(4):484–94, 2003.
- Werch C, Pappas D, Carlson J, DiClemente C, Chally P, & Sinder J. Results of a social norm intervention to prevent binge drinking among first-year residential college students. Journal of American College Health, 49(2):85–92, 2000.
References from 2019 update
- Foxcroft, D.R.; Moreira, M.T.; Santimano, N.; and Smith, L.A. Social norms information for alcohol misuse in university and college students. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2015(1): CD006748, 2015.
For more information about intervention designs and implementation, check the articles in the References tab.