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Can social marketing help to moderate teenage binge drinking?

New study looks at how teenagers react to a novel approach to alcohol education - read it free until 31 October 2013

United Kingdom, 9 October 2013 –  Young people and alcohol is a challenging  issue – with those aged 14-19 more likely to drink alcohol at risky levels than any other age group.  In a new study published in Health Education, social marketing theorists are offering a novel approach to changing social behaviours and alcohol consumption in teenagers through a new alcohol education programme.

The study can be read freely online by visiting www.emeraldinsight.com/tk/teendrinking until the 31 October 2013.

In “Moderating teen drinking: combining social marketing and education” researchers have documented the results of a new six-module course on alcohol education – and suggest  that there is evidence to show that using social marketing can affect the attitudes of teenagers to avoid possible binge drinking in the future. 

Game On: Know Alcohol (GO:KA) was delivered to a cohort of 14-16 year old students, who were asked to participate in activities that helped them to understand the physiological, cognitive, emotional and physical effects of alcohol consumption.  With activities including “Beer Goggles”, “Risky Ride” and “Stork Balance Test”, students faced  a range of practical and online activities.   The experiential activities aimed to demonstrate the consequences of drinking to excess and provide students with strategies to minimise or avoid alcohol drinking.

The study found that GO:KA was effective in moderating attitudes towards alcohol drinking, but researchers found that it had more success in changing future behavioural intentions of the girls who took part compared to the boys.

Sharyn Rundle-Thiele of the Griffith Health Institute in Australia and one of the authors of the study, comments on the results, “Students can learn and have fun at the same time!  The results of our pilot study show use of games in alcohol education offers a fun alternative for students that can also deliver knowledge to change attitudes and behavioural intentions.  Based on the results of the pilot study we have recently completed building two games and one online quiz (see http://gameon.rcs.griffith.edu.au/) and we look forward to once again working with students in 2013.”

The study is published in Health Education (Volume 113, Issue 5) and is available to read for free online until the 31 October  by visiting www.emeraldinsight.com/tk/teendrinking.

Health Education is a leading edge journal which reflects the best of modern thinking about health education, offering stimulating and incisive coverage of current debates, concerns, interventions, and initiatives.  For further information about the journal, visit www.emeraldinsight.com/he.htm

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