The current application is a final revision of a competing renewal application previously reviewed in March, 2010, which seeks to continue a productive program of research designed to reduce alcohol use and related consequences among college students, using brief computerized feedback to reduce misperceptions of drinking norms (R01 AA012547). Three studies are proposed to evaluate and extend our understanding of social influence based alcohol interventions from the perspective of Social Identity Theory. College students are at increased risk for alcohol misuse compared to other adults, and development of efficacious intervention approaches is an urgent priority. Over the past several years empirical evidence has demonstrated: 1) perceptions of other students'behavior and attitudes about drinking are strongly associated with drinking;2) students consistently overestimate the prevalence and approval of drinking among their peers;and 3) reducing normative misperceptions can be an effective strategy for reducing drinking. Personalized normative feedback (PNF) is an individualized intervention whereby participants are given feedback regarding their own drinking, their perceptions of other students'drinking, and other students'actual drinking. Findings from our first grant (detailed in the Progress Report) indicate that repeatedly administered gender-specific PNF provided over the Internet was associated with reduced drinking over a two-year follow-up period. The proposed renewal seeks to incorporate relevant theoretical perspectives (e.g., Social Identity Theory (SIT);Deviance Regulation Theory (DRT)) that should advance our understanding of why and for whom these approaches work best. The overarching goal of the proposed research is to improve our understanding of why, for whom, and under what conditions PNF is most efficacious. Following a norms documentation survey at the University of Houston (UH), three studies are proposed to evaluate theoretically and practically innovative critical questions regarding PNF in the context of SIT. We are specifically interested in SIT as it relates to PNF and how differences in students'identity with respect to their University and college peers may impact the efficacy of PNF on alcohol consumption. Study 1 will examine how differences in social identity operate on three diverse campuses: the UH, the University of Washington, and Loyola Marymount University. Study 2 will evaluate hypotheses derived from DRT in the context of PNF and examine the influence of social identity on deviance regulation processes. Finally, in Study 3, social identity will be evaluated as a potential moderator of change by evaluating PNF, based on injunctive norms, delivered in person by computer versus an intervention provider using a motivational interviewing style. This research is expected to yield theoretical and practical improvements to norms based intervention strategies that have the potential to reduce drinking and related negative consequences.
Excessive alcohol consumption among college students continues to be a serious public health concern associated with a wide range of negative consequences. Brief social norms based interventions have shown consistent effects in reducing problematic drinking in this population, but less research has evaluated theories underlying why, for whom, and under what conditions these interventions may be most efficacious. This research aims to reduce problem drinking among college students and to improve social influence based interventions.
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