Introduction and Aims
Misperceptions of how members of one’s social group think and act influence behaviour. The current study was designed to extend the research of group-specific normative feedback interventions among salient campus groups with heightened risk. Although not a randomised controlled trial, this research used normative feedback that was obtained using wireless keypad technology during a live session, within sex-specific student athlete groups to extend the proof of concept of using this brief interactive intervention.
Design and Methods
Participants included 660 intercollegiate athletes from all varsity athletic teams at two private, mid-size universities. Intervention data were gathered in vivo using computerised handheld keypads into which group members entered in personal responses to a series of alcohol-related questions. These questions assessed perceptions of normative group behaviour and attitudes as well as actual individual behaviour and attitudes. These data were then immediately presented back in graphical form to illustrate discrepancies between perceived and actual group norms.
Results revealed that at 1 month post-intervention, perceived group norms, behaviour, attitudes and consequences reduced compared with baseline. These reductions were maintained at 2 month follow up. Latent growth modelling suggested that the reductions in perceived norms and attitudes were associated with reductions in individual drinking behaviour and negative consequences.
Discussion and Conclusions
These results are among the first to suggest the effectiveness of a novel, group-based normative alcohol intervention among student athletes. Limitations of the design preclude strong inferences about efficacy; however, the findings support further trialling of such information technology in alcohol treatment research.