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Normative misperceptions about alcohol use in a general population sample of problem drinkers from a large metropolitan city

Cunningham, John; Neighbors, Clayton; Wild, Cameron; Humphreys, Keith

Description

Aims: Heavy drinkers tend to overestimate how much others drink (normative fallacy), at least in college samples. Little research has been conducted to evaluate whether normative misperceptions about drinking extend beyond the college population. The present study explored normative misperceptions in an adult general population sample of drinkers. Methods: As part of a larger study, in Toronto, Canada, a random digit dialling telephone survey was conducted with 14,009 participants who drank...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorCunningham, John
dc.contributor.authorNeighbors, Clayton
dc.contributor.authorWild, Cameron
dc.contributor.authorHumphreys, Keith
dc.date.accessioned2015-12-10T23:22:16Z
dc.date.available2015-12-10T23:22:16Z
dc.identifier.issn0735-0414
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/66455
dc.description.abstractAims: Heavy drinkers tend to overestimate how much others drink (normative fallacy), at least in college samples. Little research has been conducted to evaluate whether normative misperceptions about drinking extend beyond the college population. The present study explored normative misperceptions in an adult general population sample of drinkers. Methods: As part of a larger study, in Toronto, Canada, a random digit dialling telephone survey was conducted with 14,009 participants who drank alcohol at least once per month. Respondents with Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test of eight or more (n = 2757) were asked to estimate what percent of Canadians of their same sex: (a) drank more than they do; (b) were abstinent and (c) drank seven or more drinks per week. Respondents' estimates of these population drinking norms were then compared with the actual levels of alcohol consumption in the Canadian population. Results: A substantial level of normative misperception was observed for estimates of levels of drinking in the general population. Estimates of the proportion of Canadians who were abstinent were fairly accurate. There was some evidence of a positive relationship between the respondents' own drinking severity and the extent of normative misperceptions. Little evidence was found of a relationship between degree of normative misperceptions and age. Conclusion: Normative misperceptions have been successfully targeted in social norms media campaigns as well as in personalized feedback interventions for problem drinkers. The present research solidifies the empirical bases for extending these interventions more widely into the general population.
dc.publisherOxford University Press
dc.sourceAlcohol and Alcoholism
dc.subjectKeywords: adult; alcohol abstinence; alcohol consumption; article; consumer health information; drinking behavior; female; health survey; human; major clinical study; male; patient attitude; population research; priority journal; sex difference; teleconsultation; t
dc.titleNormative misperceptions about alcohol use in a general population sample of problem drinkers from a large metropolitan city
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.identifier.citationvolume47
dc.date.issued2012
local.identifier.absfor111714 - Mental Health
local.identifier.ariespublicationU3488905xPUB1286
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationCunningham, John, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationNeighbors, Clayton, University of Houston
local.contributor.affiliationWild, Cameron, Centre for Health Promotion Studies, School of Public Health, University of Alberta
local.contributor.affiliationHumphreys, Keith, Veterans Affairs and Stanford University Medical Centers
local.bibliographicCitation.issue1
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage63
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage66
local.identifier.doi10.1093/alcalc/agr125
local.identifier.absseo920410 - Mental Health
dc.date.updated2016-02-24T09:58:35Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-84555187750
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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