There are a lot of misperceptions about college students’ behavior when it comes to health and well-being, especially with regard to alcohol use.
Because of this phenomenon, we regularly survey our students at Cabrini College and report our findings to campus in media campaigns.
Below are some of our campaign posters. The results may surprise you, but they are based on real data from real Cabrini students!
These “social norms marketing campaigns” promote the actual healthy and protective behaviors practiced by the majority of students.
We use posters, table tents, promotional items, and more to correct misperceptions and shape positive behavior.
Alcohol, Misperceptions, and Protective Strategies Contrary to common misperceptions, most college students party safely. Year after year, at Cabrini College and other campuses across the country, surveys show that most college students choose to drink moderately and responsibly when they socialize. Research shows that most students party safely by choice, planning, and use of protective strategies.
Several years ago, researchers in the Midwest conducted focus groups with college students who drank and discovered 10 common protective strategies. Since then, these 10 strategies have been researched using the National College Health Assessment (NCHA) and continue to prove as effective ways to drink moderately and responsibly:
According to Cabrini College’s Fall 2009 NCHA data, almost 10 out of 10 Cabrini students (95.3%) reported using at least one or more of the above protective behaviors when they drank alcohol during the previous school year.
A recent study analyzed the 2002 NCHA data set, which contained surveys from 28,258 students at 44 colleges and universities. The researchers wanted to find out how many students used protective strategies and if the students who used strategies experienced fewer problems. The results clearly show that the more strategies students used, the safer they were.
This research also suggests that the strategies with the greatest protective effect were those where the student took active control of his or her own behavior. Counting drinks and pacing drinks correlated with the least amount of harm. That’s why 0 – 3 drinks per occasion for women and 0 – 4 drinks per occasion for men are such popular choices.
Strategies related to other factors also appear to correlate with decreased harm. These strategies include staying with the same group of friends while drinking, remaining in one location while drinking, and consuming only one type of alcohol.
The choice is not simply to drink or not to drink. Students get to choose from a variety of strategies that can help them have a good time – and stay safe.