Criticism: Social Behaviors Approach To Alcoholism

1557 Words 7 Pages
The social norms approach to alcohol intervention is largely environmental. As opposed to directly attempting to adjust personal attitudes through persuasive techniques, the social norms approach seeks to provide individuals with accurate information regarding an environmental context (Perkins & Berkowitz, 1986). However, the heretofore use of these interventions has primarily been to reduce typical drinking behaviors, neglecting to take into account the social context fostering alcohol use. Few interventions have applied the social norms approach to the prevention of event-specific drinking (i.e., 21st birthday drinking and Spring Break drinking; Lee et al., 2014; Neighbors et al., 2009). Yet, these events are isolated, occurring
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Gender-specific social norm interventions targeting tailgating drinking may be more effective when using personalized normative feedback as this approach has been found to be effective in previous investigations using gender-specific information (Lewis & Neighbors, 2007). Personalized normative feedback differs from a traditional social norm intervention in that individuals’ misperceptions regarding others’ alcohol use are highlighted to a greater extent. While social norms interventions inform students of what the actual drinking rates are among peers by providing socially comparative feedback, personalized normative feedback includes this component and then calculates the percent difference between students’ reported drinking rates, perceptions of peers’ drinking rates, and the actual drinking rates and presents those results to participants (Neighbors, Larimer, & Lewis, 2004). The results are tailored to students’ own drinking levels, and students receive immediate feedback about how much more or less they drink than their peers. Lewis and Neighbors (2007) launched the first gender-specific intervention that successfully reduced drinking among undergraduate students. Their investigation presented gender-specific discrepancies between students’ reported behaviors and the normative behaviors of their peers, subsequently reducing drinking. Additional norms-based intervention applications using personalized normative feedback should be employed to determine whether this method can result in greater behavioral changes than a standard descriptive norm

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