HWS Professor David Craig worked with Discover Films Video to create an educational tape for high school students
February 12, 2002 Geneva, N.Y. – Hobart and William Smith Colleges Professors David Craig and Wesley Perkins have spent years developing and testing what has become known as the social norms approach to prevention. Social norms, simply stated, posits that students perceive that their peers are drinking more than they are and therefore, in an effort to conform, make unhealthy choices themselves. When educated to the realities about the behavior of their peers, they learn that less heavy drinking occurs than they thought, and they can modify their habits to their new knowledge. Here at the Colleges, and across the nation, the program has proven to be overwhelmingly successful, and the two professors are regular speakers at various colleges and universities explaining their work.
Recently Professor Craig traveled to New Orleans to work with Discover Film Video to create an educational video for high schools to use as a tool to help students understand that “fitting in” doesn’t always mean what they think it means. Craig worked with a “task force” of real students (the high school name is fictitious) to study the issue of high-school-age drinking.
The students discussed their perceptions of the drinking that went on in their school and then students at the school were polled in a confidential study to get factual information. As is always the case, the perceptions and the realities were vastly different. The task force came to understand the “power of information” and most felt relieved to know that they didn’t have to drink heavily to fit in with their classmates.
Discover Video has made the film available to high schools and within the first week hundreds of copies were ordered. “I’m delighted that this tool will be used by high school teachers and counselors now,” said Craig. “Students are empowered to make healthier choices when they understand that it’s the flamboyant behavior that garners attention–but that in reality the majority of their peers are drinking infrequently or not at all. Knowledge really is power, and healthier choices saves lives.”
More information about the work that Craig and Perkins do is available at www.hws.edu/alcohol, and copies of the video can be obtained by contacting Discover Films Video at 1-888-649-6453 or by visiting www.discover-films.com. Craig notes that the film is also appropriate for middle school age students.
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