social norms approach is most widely known for its effectiveness in
reducing heavy episodic alcohol consumption* and alcohol-related harm
among college students, effective social norms interventions targeting
alcohol have now been reported in high schools as well.
Here you will find
detailed descriptions of a select number of alcohol-focused social norms
projects in both universities and high schools. Use the navigation bar
to the left to read more about the following projects:
Heavy Episodic Alcohol Consumption
||44% over 10
William Smith Colleges (HWS)
||40% over 5
||23% over 5
of Missouri-Columbia (MU)
||21% over 2
of North Carolina (UNC)
||30% over 5
of Arizona (UA)
||29% over 3
||20% over 3
||22% over 3
||26% over 3
||See project description
||14% over 2
||11% over 2
*A note on terminology:
There has been
a great deal of discussion in the prevention field about the inappropriate
use of the term "binge drinking" to characterize the consumption
of 5 or more drinks per occasion for men and 4 or more drinks per occasion
for women (the so-called 5/4 measure). More significant, perhaps, is
the argument that the 5/4 measure is an inadequate predictor of negative
consequences. This measure is further problematic given that the level
of consumption targeted for reduction varies considerably from one intervention
site to the next. For these and other reasons we have generally chosen
to replace the term "binge drinking" with "heavy episodic
For further information
regarding the inaccuracy of the term "binge drinking," consult
the following resources:
"Binge" Definition Provided
by National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
A task force determines the factors that define heavy episodic
drinking or distinguish it from other patterns of alcohol use and abuse,
including cut–off points, amounts, or timeframes; predictive factors;
trajectories; and outcomes.
and Other Substance Abuse Issues' Proclamation
by Inter-Association Task Force (IATF)
The IATF Proclamation, issued in August 2000, requests that researchers
and agencies refrain from using the term "binge drinking "except
as it is generally and historically used to denote a prolonged …period
of intoxication…" Further, the IATF urges the use of "definitions
that are objectively defined by health research data that account for
weight, gender, quantity of alcohol, and frequency and duration of consumption,"
such as Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC).
Note to the Field: On 'Binge Drinking"
by The Higher Education Center
This October 2000 press release by the Higher Education Center provides
a comprehensive explanation of why most researchers in the prevention
field now reject the use of the word "binge" to describe "having
5/4-plus drinks over some unspecified period of time."
to School and Binge Drinking on College Campuses"
by John A. Carpenter
(from Recovery, the newsletter of the American Council on Alcoholism)
An October 1998 note on the recently announced editorial policy
of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol. According to this policy, "the
term 'binge' should be used only to describe an extended period of time
during which a person repeatedly administers alcohol or another substance
to the point of intoxication, and gives up his/her usual activities
in order to use this substance."
of the information presented on this page were originally prepared by Michael
Haines and Richard Rice and are printed here with their permission.