Improving social norms interventions: Rank-framing increases excessive alcohol drinkers' information-seeking.
journal contributionposted on 2015-05-07, 10:24 authored by M. J. Taylor, I. Vlaev, John J. Maltby, G. D. A. Brown, A. M. Wood
Objective: Two types of social norm message frame for encouraging seeking of alcoholrelated health information by excessive drinkers were compared: (a) how much the average person actually drinks, and (b) how their drinking ranks amongst others. It was hypothesized, in accordance with recent evidence of how the brain represents value, that frame (b) would be more effective than frame (a). This is the first test comparing these frames in any domain of social norms research. Methods: United Kingdom university students with excessive alcohol intake (n = 101, 66 female) were sent four weekly messages containing one of four types of information depending upon the experimental condition to which each participant was randomly allocated: (1) Official alcohol consumption guidelines; (2) how their alcohol consumption compared to official guidelines; (3) how their consumption compared to the sample mean; or (4) how their consumption ranked amongst the sample. They then had the opportunity to request up to 3 types of alcohol-related health information. Results: Participants informed of how their consumption ranked were more likely to request information (p < .01, OR = 6.0) and tended to request a greater number of types of information (p < .01, Wald = 7.17) than those in other conditions. Conclusions: Informing excessive drinkers of how their alcohol consumption ranked was more effective in eliciting their seeking of alcohol-related health information than informing them of how their consumption compared to the mean. Research investigating the effectiveness of this message frame in social norms interventions more generally is needed.
This research was supported by ESRC Grants ES/K00588X/1 and ES/K002201/1, grant RP2012-V-022 from the Leverhulme Trust, and the CLAHRC for NW London grant number WSSS P28024. This article presents independent research commissioned by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) under the Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) programme for North West London.
CitationHealth Psychology, 2015, 34 (12), pp. 1200-1203
Author affiliation/Organisation/COLLEGE OF MEDICINE, BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES AND PSYCHOLOGY/School of Psychology
- AM (Accepted Manuscript)