Social Norms

Have you seen our posters around campus? These are examples of our social norms marketing campaigns.

You may have wondered about the CROSSROADS posters and merchandise with statistics about UNCW students or heard us say "Most students have 0 to 5 when they party." The social norms approach of reducing students' binge drinking, developed by Alan Berkowitz, PhD. and used widely around the country, seeks to correct students' misperception of alcohol use by their fellow students. Typically, students mistakenly believe that other students are drinking more than is actually the case. As a result, according to the social norms theory, the typical student drinks more than he/she might otherwise in order to meet this "perceived norm." UNCW collects data about student behavior and then, as part of our overall efforts to reduce binge drinking among students, we use this collected data to more accurately portray the "true norm" of substance use. Which is that most students make healthy decisions!

Here are the true UNCW norms:

  • Most UNCW students (72%) have 0 to 4 drinks when they go out
  • 90% of UNCW students have NOT driven under the influence in the last month
  • 91.7% of UNCW students are not daily smokers
  • 75.3% of UNCW students have not used marijuana in the last month

Find more statistics about UNCW students here.

Where does that data come from?

CROSSROADS gathers this data in our annual surveys with representative random sample of UNCW students.

  • Our Real Men and UNCWomen Take Care campaign from 2010 was based on 2009 Substance Use Surveys completed by 1309 students.
  • Our Step Up. Step Out. Be the One. campaign with CARE from 2009 includes data from the Fall 2007 UNCW Alcohol Survey completed by 491 students online and the January 2008 UNCW Violence Survey completed online by 211 students.
  • The original Real Men and UNCWomen Take Care campaign from 2007 was based on the Fall 2005 survey of 334 students.

Here's a vintage social norms poster from 2004:

N the Know Flier for UNCW Substance Abuse Prevention