Wesley Perkins, professor of sociology, recently delivered the invited keynote address, “The Social Norms Approach to Student Substance Abuse Prevention: Successful Intervention Practices and Current Research Issues,” for the Fourth European Symposium on Substance Use and Abuse among University Students.
The Symposium is an event which every two years brings together researchers, educators, policymakers and healthcare practitioners with an interest in the issue of substance use in student populations throughout Europe. It was hosted this year by the Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology, associated with the University of Bremen in Bremen, Germany. Perkins also presented a separate research presentation at the conference, “Impact Assessment of a Multi-Site Social Norms Intervention Targeting Student-Athlete High Risk Drinking,” based on research conducted at nine colleges and universities in the United States.
Additionally, a new publication by Perkins titled “Misperception is Reality: The ‘Reign of Error’ About Peer Risk Behaviour Norms Among Youth and Young Adults” appeared as a chapter in a book, “The Complexity of Social Norms” edited by Maria Xenitidou and Bruce Edmonds and published during the last week in June by Springer International. The chapter reviews social norms theory and growing empirical research in the United States and internationally. It explains the influence of misperceived norms on personal risk behaviors, a topic on which Perkins has devoted much of his academic career.
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 and is editor of a book on the social norms approach to substance abuse prevention, and has been honored with national awards for his work in preventing alcohol and drug abuse in colleges and universities.
Perkins and David Craig, professor of chemistry, direct the Hobart and William Smith Colleges Alcohol Education Project that has received multiple awards from the U.S. Department of Education and they are currently conducting a social norms project to reduce alcohol abuse among young Airmen at selected bases in the U.S. and abroad.