A new article coauthored by Wesley Perkins, professor of sociology, and David Craig, professor of chemistry, in collaboration with Jessica Perkins of the Department of Health Policy, Harvard University, was just published.
Titled “Misperceptions of Peer Norms as a Risk Factor for Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption among Secondary School Students,” the article appears in the December issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association and introduces social norms theory to the growing concern about sweet drink consumption and its link to obesity among adolescents. It is the first article to document how misperceptions of peer norms are associated with excessive consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and is based on data the authors collected among more than 3,800 secondary school students in eight schools in western region of the United States.
The social norms model was originally introduced to the field of health promotion and risk prevention by Perkins in the 1980s, and Perkins and Craig have been leaders in designing applications and conducting research since.
Perkins is a graduate of Purdue University, and he received his M.A., M. Div., M. Phil. and Ph.D. from Yale University. He is the author of dozens of journal articles about substance abuse prevention and has been honored with national awards for his work in preventing alcohol and drug abuse in colleges and universities. He is co-director of the Hobart and William Smith Colleges Alcohol Education Project.
In addition to his teaching duties, Craig is co-director of the Hobart and William Smith Colleges Alcohol Education Project and is principle investigator of a program of BAC research at HWS. He is a leader in interdisciplinary program development particularly in the integration of the sciences into programs focusing on health and wellness at both the college and secondary school levels and has published numerous publications and a recent film on this subject.