Article - post-print
Personalized normative feedback (PNF) interventions are generally effective at correcting normative misperceptions and reducing risky alcohol consumption among college students. However, research has yet to establish what level of reference group specificity is most efficacious in delivering PNF. This study compared the efficacy of a web-based PNF intervention employing eight increasingly-specific reference groups against a Web-BASICS intervention and a repeated-assessment control in reducing risky drinking and associated consequences.
Participants were 1663 heavy drinking Caucasian and Asian undergraduates at two universities. The referent for web-based PNF was either the typical same-campus student, or a same-campus student at one (either gender, race, or Greek-affiliation), or a combination of two (e.g., gender and race), or all three levels of specificity (i.e., gender, race, and Greek-affiliation). Hypotheses were tested using quasi-Poisson generalized linear models fit by generalized estimating equations.
The PNF intervention participants showed modest reductions in all four outcomes (average total drinks, peak drinking, drinking days, and drinking consequences) compared to control participants. No significant differences in drinking outcomes were found between the PNF group as a whole and the Web-BASICS group. Among the eight PNF conditions, participants receiving typical student PNF demonstrated greater reductions in all four outcomes compared to those receiving PNF for more specific reference groups. Perceived drinking norms and discrepancies between individual behavior and actual norms mediated the efficacy of the intervention.
Findings suggest a web-based PNF intervention using the typical student referent offers a parsimonious approach to reducing problematic alcohol use outcomes among college students.
This is an author-manuscript of an article accepted for publication in [insert journal title] following peer review. The version of record: LaBrie, J. W., Lewis, M. A., Atkins, D. C., Neighbors, C., Zheng, C., R. Kenney, S., … Larimer, M. E. (2013). RCT of Web-based Personalized Normative Feedback for College Drinking Prevention: Are Typical Student Norms Good Enough? Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 81(6), 1074–1086 is available online at: http://doi.org/10.1037/a0034087.
LaBrie, J. W., Lewis, M. A., Atkins, D. C., Neighbors, C., Zheng, C., R. Kenney, S., … Larimer, M. E. (2013). RCT of Web-based Personalized Normative Feedback for College Drinking Prevention: Are Typical Student Norms Good Enough? Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 81(6), 1074–1086. http://doi.org/10.1037/a0034087