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Abstract or Description

Personalized Normative Feedback (PNF) has been proposed as an inexpensive, scalable intervention for reducing problematic consumption of alcohol, particularly among college students. Many individual studies, as well as meta-analyses, have tested the efficacy of PNF. The findings have been generally positive, demonstrating that it decreases alcohol consumption and the problems associated with excessive consumption. Unfortunately, many of these studies have less than ideal methodologies, which potentially introduce bias to their results. We apply a quantitative adjustment procedure to the findings of each study to account for these biases. Results were divided by a factor of 1.61 on average. While many of the results remain statistically significant after correction, the effects are relatively small, less than 0.2 (Cohen’s d), in all. Other methods will need to be developed if PNF is to achieve dramatic progress towards reducing drinking. Little evidence exists on the long-term impacts of PNF, or how PNF interacts with the transition out of college.


Advisor: Baruch Fischhoff

Department of Social and Decision Sciences