Perkins Presents, Is Cited – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Perkins Presents, Is Cited

Professor of Sociology Wesley Perkins recently was invited to co-lead a workshop focusing on social norms and was also cited in a publication for his work in the area.

Perkins recently co-lead a workshop at the Midwest Social Norms Institute, a two-day training workshop held in Chicago that focused on the social norms approach to health promotion and risk prevention work. The Institute was sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Center for the Application of Prevention Technologies, and the Maine Community Youth Assistance Foundation.  It was attended by community health educators, counselors, social workers, and public health advocates from higher education and community agencies. 

Perkins gave four presentations during the event including an “Introduction to the Social Norms Approach to Promoting Health and Safety,” a session on “Evaluation of Social Norms Interventions,” a session on “Successful Middle School Projects Reducing Bullying,” and a final presentation on “Applying the Social Norm Model to Obesity, Underweight, and Eating-Related Concerns.”

Also this month, research in Montana that evaluated the social norms approach in correcting drinking and driving that Perkins conducted was described in “Science Letter.” That article appears below.

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. His work with Professor of Chemistry David Craig is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a premiere model for substance abuse prevention.


Science Letter

Research from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in the Area of Science Described

 Aug 2, 2011

Scientists discuss in “Effectiveness of social norms media marketing in reducing drinking and driving: A statewide campaign” new findings in Science. “This research evaluated the efficacy of a high-intensity social norms media marketing campaign aimed at correcting normative misperceptions and reducing the prevalence of drinking and driving among 21-to-34-year-olds in Montana. A quasi-experimental design was used, such that regions of Montana were assigned to one of three experimental groups: social norms media marketing campaign, buffer, and control,” scientists in Geneva, New York report (see also ).

“Four random samples of Montanans between the ages of 21 and 34 were assessed at four time points over 18 months via phone surveys. Findings suggest that the social norms media campaign was successful at exposing the targeted population to social norms messages in the counties within the intervention region. Moreover, results demonstrate the campaign reduced normative misperceptions, increased use of designated drivers, and decreased drinking and driving among those young adults in counties within the intervention region. Social norms media marketing can be effective at changing drinking related behaviors at the population level,” wrote H.W. Perkins and colleagues, Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

The researchers concluded: “This research provides a model for utilizing social norms media marketing to address other behaviors related to public health.”

Perkins and colleagues published their study in Addictive Behaviors (Effectiveness of social norms media marketing in reducing drinking and driving: A statewide campaign. Addictive Behaviors, 2010;35(10):866-74).

For more information, contact H.W. Perkins, Dept. of Anthropology and Sociology, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, NY 14456, United States.