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1.  Normative Misperceptions about Alcohol Use in a General Population Sample of Problem Drinkers from a Large Metropolitan City 
Aims: Heavy drinkers tend to overestimate how much others drink (normative fallacy), at least in college samples. Little research has been conducted to evaluate whether normative misperceptions about drinking extend beyond the college population. The present study explored normative misperceptions in an adult general population sample of drinkers. Methods: As part of a larger study, in Toronto, Canada, a random digit dialling telephone survey was conducted with 14,009 participants who drank alcohol at least once per month. Respondents with Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test of eight or more (n = 2757) were asked to estimate what percent of Canadians of their same sex: (a) drank more than they do; (b) were abstinent and (c) drank seven or more drinks per week. Respondents' estimates of these population drinking norms were then compared with the actual levels of alcohol consumption in the Canadian population. Results: A substantial level of normative misperception was observed for estimates of levels of drinking in the general population. Estimates of the proportion of Canadians who were abstinent were fairly accurate. There was some evidence of a positive relationship between the respondents' own drinking severity and the extent of normative misperceptions. Little evidence was found of a relationship between degree of normative misperceptions and age. Conclusion: Normative misperceptions have been successfully targeted in social norms media campaigns as well as in personalized feedback interventions for problem drinkers. The present research solidifies the empirical bases for extending these interventions more widely into the general population.
doi:10.1093/alcalc/agr125
PMCID: PMC3243438  PMID: 22028458
2.  Twelve-Month Follow-up Results from a Randomized Controlled Trial of a Brief Personalized Feedback Intervention for Problem Drinkers 
Aims: To examine the impact of a web-based personalized feedback intervention, the Check Your Drinking (CYD; www.CheckYourDrinking.net) screener at 12-month follow-up.
Methods: Respondents (N = 185) were recruited from a general population telephone survey of Ontario, Canadian adults (≥18 years) by asking risky drinkers if they were willing to help develop and evaluate Internet-based interventions for drinkers. Those randomly assigned to the intervention condition were provided with the web address and a unique password to a study-specific copy of the CYD. Respondents assigned to the control condition were sent a written description of the different components of the CYD and asked how useful they thought each of the components might be. Respondents were followed up at 3, 6 and 12 months.
Results: By the 12-month follow-up, the impact of the intervention previously reported at 3 and 6 months of CYD on problem drinkers’ alcohol consumption was no longer apparent (P > 0.05).
Conclusions: Recognizing that many people with alcohol concerns will never seek treatment, recent years have seen an increase in efforts to find ways to take treatment to problem drinkers. The CYD is one such intervention that has a demonstrated effect on reducing alcohol consumption in the short term (i.e. 6 months). Other more intensive Internet-based interventions or interventions via other modalities may enhance this positive outcome over the short and long term among problem drinkers who would be otherwise unlikely to access treatment for their alcohol concerns.
www.ClinicalTrials.gov registration #NCT00367575.
doi:10.1093/alcalc/agq009
PMCID: PMC2857148  PMID: 20150170

Results 1-2 (2)