Document Type

Article - pre-print

Publication Date



Gamified interventions exploit the motivational characteristics of a game in order to provide prevention information and promote behavior change. Despite the modest effect sizes observed in increasingly popular web-based personalized normative feedback (PNF) alcohol interventions for college students, previous research has yet to consider how gamification might be used to enhance efficacy. This study examines whether a novel, gamified PNF intervention format, which includes a point-based reward system, the element of chance, and personal icons to visually represent users, is more effective in reducing short-term alcohol use than the standard web-based style of PNF currently used on college campuses. Two-hundred and thirty-seven college students were randomly assigned to receive either a standard brief, web-based PNF alcohol intervention or the same alcohol intervention components delivered within a Facebook-connected social game called CampusGANDR (Gamified Alcohol Norm Discovery and Readjustment). In both study conditions participants answered identical questions about their perceptions of peer drinking norms and own drinking and then received the same PNF slides. Two weeks following PNF delivery, participants again reported their perceptions of peers' alcohol use and own drinking. Students in the CampusGANDR condition reported significantly reduced peer drinking norms and alcohol use at the two-week follow-up relative to students who received identical PNF delivered by standard online survey. Further, a mediation model demonstrated that this effect was driven by larger reductions in perceived drinking norms among participants assigned to receive CampusGANDR, relative to control. As web-based PNF is becoming an increasingly universal prevention strategy, findings from this study suggest gamification may represent one method by which intervention efficacy could be substantially improved. The potential methodological and economic benefits associated with gamified PNF interventions are emphasized and directions for future research are discussed.

Publisher Statement

This is an author-manuscript of an article accepted for publication in Addictive Behaviors. The published version of this record is available online at doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2016.11.024.

Recommended Citation

Boyle, S.C, Earle, A. M., LaBrie, J. W., & Smith, D. J. PNF 2.0? Initial evidence that gamification can increase the efficacy of brief, web-based personalized normative feedback alcohol interventions. Addictive Behaviors, Volume 67, Pages 8-17,

Included in

Psychology Commons