Normative re-education: Electronic/mailed personalized normative feedback (PNF)—Generic/other
PNF programs provide all students with personalized information about their alcohol use in comparison with actual use by their peers. This information is represented graphically (with charts and text, showing personal behavior juxtaposed with normative information). Delivery of PNF interventions is done without the involvement of a facilitator, and students are allowed to consider this information on their own.
Effectiveness: = Higher effectiveness
Cost: $ = Lower
Barriers: ## = Moderate
Research Amount: **** = 11+ studies
Public Health Reach: Broad
Primary Modality: Online/offsite
Staffing Expertise Needed: Coordinator
Target Population: Individuals, specific groups, or all students
Duration of Effects: Short-term (< 6 months); long-term (≥ 6 months) effects
See the FAQs to learn more about generic PNF strategies and how to develop and implement them.
Effectiveness ratings are based on the percentage of studies reporting any positive outcomes. Strategies with three or fewer studies did not receive an effectiveness rating due to the limited data on which to base a conclusion. Cost ratings are based on the relative program and staff costs for adoption, implementation, and maintenance of a strategy. Actual costs will vary by institution, depending on size, existing programs, and other campus and community factors. Barriers to implementing a strategy include cost and opposition, among other factors. Public health reach refers to the number of students that a strategy affects. Strategies with a broad reach affect all students or a large group of students (e.g., all underage students); strategies with a focused reach affect individuals or small groups of students (e.g., sanctioned students). Research amount/quality refers to the number of randomized controlled trials (RCT) that evaluated the strategy. Duration of effects refers to the timeframe within which the intervention demonstrated effects on alcohol-related behavioral outcomes; follow-up periods for short-term effects were <6 months; follow-up periods for long-term effects were ≥6 months.
Strategies are listed by brand name if they were evaluated by at least two RCTs; strategies labeled generic/other have similar components and were not identified by name in the research or were evaluated by only one RCT; strategies labeled miscellaneous have the same approach but very different components.
Larimer, M.E.; and Cronce, J.M. Identification, prevention, and treatment revisited: Individual-focused college drinking prevention strategies 1999–2006. Addictive Behaviors, 32:2439–68, 2007.
- Neighbors, C.; Larimer, M.E.; and Lewis, M.A. Targeting misperceptions of descriptive drinking norms: Efficacy of a computer-delivered personalized normative feedback intervention. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 72(3):434?47, 2004.
- Neighbors, C.; Lewis, M.A; Bergstrom, R.L.; and Larimer, M.E. Being controlled by normative influences: Self-determination as a moderator of a normative feedback alcohol intervention. Health Psychology, 25(5):571?9, 2006.
- Walters, S.T.; Vader, A.M.; and Harris, T.R. A controlled trial of Web-based feedback for heavy drinking college students. Prevention Science, 8(1):83?8, 2007.
Cronce, J.M.; and Larimer, M. Individual-focused approaches to the prevention of college student drinking. Alcohol Research and Health 34(2):210–21, 2011.
- Lewis, M.A.; Neighbors, C.; Oster-Aaland, L; Kirkeby, B.S.; and Larimer, M.E. Indicated prevention for incoming freshmen: Personalized normative feedback and high-risk drinking. Addictive Behaviors, 32(11):2495–508, 2007.
Additional studies not identified in prior reviews
- Moreira, M.T.; Oskrochi, R.; and Foxcroft, D.R. Personalised normative feedback for preventing alcohol misuse in university students: Solomon three-group randomized controlled trial. PLoS ONE, 7(9):e44120, 2012.
- Werch, C.E.; Pappas, D.M, Carlson, J.M.; DiClemente, C.C.; Chally, P.S.; and Sinder, J.A. Results of a social norm intervention to prevent binge drinking among first-year residential college students. Journal of American College Health, 49(2):85–92, 2000.
- Neighbors, C.; Lewis, M.A.; Atkins, D.C.; Jensen, M.M.; Walter, T.; Fossos, N.; et al. Efficacy of Web-based personalized normative feedback: A two-year randomized controlled trial. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 78(6):898–911, 2010.
References from 2019 update
- Collins, S.E.; Kirouac, M.; Lewis, M.A.; et al. Randomized controlled trial of web-based decisional balance feedback and personalized normative feedback for college drinkers. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs 75(6):982–992, 2014.
- LaBrie, J.W.; Lewis, M.A.; Atkins, D.C.; et al. 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, 2013.
- Lewis, M.A.; Patrick, M.E.; Litt, D.M.; et al. Randomized controlled trial of a web-delivered personalized normative feedback intervention to reduce alcohol-related risky sexual behavior among college students. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 82(3):429–440, 2014.
- Martens, M.P.; Smith, A.E.; and Murphy, J.G. The efficacy of single-component brief motivational interventions among at-risk college drinkers. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology81(4):691–701, 2013.
- Miller, M.B.; Leavens, E.L.; Meier, E.; et al. Enhancing the efficacy of computerized feedback interventions for college alcohol misuse: An exploratory randomized trial. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 84(2):122–133, 2016.
- Neighbors, C.; Lewis, M.A.; LaBrie, J.; et al. A multisite randomized trial of normative feedback for heavy drinking: Social comparison versus social comparison plus correction of normative misperceptions. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 84(3):238, 2016.
- Pedersen, E.R.; Neighbors, C.; Atkins, D.C.; et al. Brief online interventions targeting risk and protective factors for increased and problematic alcohol use among American college students studying abroad. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors 231:220–230, 2017.
- Prince, M.A.; Maisto, S.A.; Rice, S.L.; and Carey, K.B. Development of a face-to-face injunctive norms brief motivational intervention for college drinkers and preliminary findings. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors 29(4):825–835, 2015. Taylor, M.J.; Vlaev, I.; Maltby, J.; et al. Improving social norms interventions: Rank-framing increases excessive alcohol drinkers’ information-seeking. Health Psychology 34(12):1200–1203, 2015.
For information about intervention designs and implementation, check the articles in the References tab.
Also see the FAQs for more information on generic PNF interventions.