ERIC Number: ED470573
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2002
A Multifaceted Social Norms Approach To Reduce High-Risk Drinking: Lessons from Hobart and Williams Smith Colleges.
Perkins, H. Wesley; Craig, David W.
The Hobart and William Smith Colleges Alcohol Education Project (HWS) began in 1996 to test the social norms approach to reducing alcohol use by students. A social norms approach works on the premise that misperceived norms, perceptions that usually exaggerate what is typical for other students, lead to increased drinking as students attempt to conform to what they think others are doing. Effectively informing students of actual drinking norms should reduce student drinking. A campuswide survey in 1995 had established that 89% of students typically drank alcohol in an average weekend, and 55% were frequent heavy drinkers. The HWS Project had five activity categories; (1) data collection; (2) print media campaigns; (3) electronic media campaign; (4) curriculum development; and (5) campus presentations, staff development, and cocurricular activities. Student surveys in 1997 and 1998 showed an 18% decrease in the average number of drinks consumed by each student, with comparable decreases in the number of drinks consumed in a row and at parties and bars. Project findings provide evidence for the effectiveness of social norms efforts to reduce high risk drinking and associated problems at colleges and universities, even at institutions where sociodemographic contexts traditionally present the highest levels of alcohol consumption among student populations. An appendix described project components in table form. (Contains 3 figures, 9 tables, and 11 notes.) (SLD)
Descriptors: Attitude Change, College Students, Drinking, Higher Education, Information Dissemination, Norms, Prevention, Program Effectiveness, Social Influences, Student Attitudes, Student Surveys
For full text: http://www.edc.org/hec/pubs/hws.html.
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Department of Education, Washington, DC.; Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, New Brunswick, NJ.
Authoring Institution: Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention, Newton, MA.
Note: Case study based on the March 2001 report, "HWS Alcohol Education Project Experiment: A Synergistic Application of the Social Norms Approach To Reduce Collegiate Problem Drinking" (H. Wesley Perkins, David W. Craig, Phillip J. Moorad, and Margaret N. Moorad) funded by the U.S. Department of Education (Grant #S184H980041 and #P183A960126).