Alcohol Education Guide
to Reducing Harmful Drinking

University of Leeds Web-Based Personalized Feedback and Social Norms Alcohol Intervention



Implementer: University of Leeds

Program Overview: This social norms program was implemented in order to assess the effectiveness of this type of approach in reducing weekly alcohol consumption and the average amount consumed on a given occasion in a UK-based university.

Program Design: This intervention used personalized feedback and normative information in a web based format. Students participating in the intervention completed a pre-test questionnaire and then immediately received personalized feedback as well as information regarding social norms. Over the next 12 weeks intervention students had access to the social norms website, and were requested to revisit at week 6. 

Evaluation: 1075 students participating in the evaluation trial were randomly assigned to the control or intervention group. The intervention group was compared to a control group who also completed the pre-test questionnaire, but did not receive personalized feedback, social norms information, nor access to the social norms site. Post-test surveys were administered to both groups at the conclusion of the intervention period at 12 weeks. Questionnaires included items assessing numerous health behaviors including the CAGE questionnaire, average number of drinks consumed per occasion, and past week alcohol consumption.

Key findings: Differences between pre and post test were compared between intervention and control groups, results showed:

  • Statistically significant differences in alcohol consumed per occasion, with the intervention group demonstrating larger reductions
  • No statistically significant differences in weekly alcohol consumption or CAGE scores between groups


1. Bewick, B. M., Trusler, K., Mulhern, B., Barkham, M., &  Hill, A. J. (2008). The feasibility and effectiveness of a web-based personlised feedback and social norms alcohol intervention in UK university students: A randomized control trialAddictive Behaviors, 33(9), 1192-1198.

Target Audience: University/young adults (18-21 years)
Issues: Underage Drinking
Setting: Online/ Internet
Approach: Social Norms
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