Alcohol Education Guide
to Reducing Harmful Drinking

Rowan University Social Norms Project



Implementer: Rowan University

Partners: Funding from New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services

Program Overview: This university social norms program aimed to reduce alcohol consumption, particularly heavy or harmful consumption, among students at Rowan University

Program Design: The social norms campaign at Rowan University was a public information campaign that used actual student norms in an effort to correct normative misperceptions to reduce harmful alcohol consumption. Students were exposed to actual norms through media including posters, flyers, newspaper advertisements, radio spots, and promotional items.

Evaluation: Data were collected via the Campus Survey of Alcohol and Other Drug Norms. This questionnaire was administered before program implementation and again at one and two years after the program began. Items assessing program exposure were also included in the follow up surveys.

Key findings1Questionnaire data showed that the campaign and increased exposure to campaign messages were associated with statistically significant changes in perceived norms and alcohol consumption. These include:

  • Corrections in misperceptions of peer drinking norms
  • Fewer students reporting having consumed 5 or more drinks on average at bars or parties
  • Fewer students reporting having consumed 5 or more drinks on average in the previous two weeks or during the last drinking occasion


1. Jeffrey, L. R., Negro, P., Miller, D. S., & Frisone, J. D. (2003). The Rowan University social norms project, in Perkins, H. W. (Ed), The Social norms approach to preventing school and college age substance abuse,100-110.

Target Audience: University/young adults (18-21 years)
Issues: Heavy Episodic or Binge Drinking, Underage Drinking
Setting: Media (including social media)
Approach: Social Norms
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