Centre for Alcohol and Drug Research

Youth experiences with social norms feedback: Qualitative findings from the drug prevention trial the good life

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  • Christiane Stock, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, University of Southern Denmark
  • ,
  • Satayesh Lavasani Kjær, University of Southern Denmark
  • ,
  • Birthe Marie Rasmussen, University of Southern Denmark
  • ,
  • Lotte Vallentin-Holbech

Background: Normative feedback is an intervention strategy commonly used in drug prevention programmes. This study collected process evaluation data about how programme recipients engage with social norms (SN) feedback in The GOOD Life intervention and how they experience it. Methods: Eight focus group interviews were conducted with a total of 44 adolescents (pupils aged 14–16 years) who have participated in the social-norms-based intervention The GOOD Life. The interviews focused on three topics: (1) interest in and impact of the intervention; (2) perception of the intervention elements; and (3) suggestions for improvement of The GOOD Life. They were transcribed and analysed with content analysis. Results: The analysis revealed that The GOOD Life motivated pupils to re-evaluate their own drug use behaviour and overall met their interest regarding receiving engaging and non-moral forms of drug prevention programmes. While pupils perceived the normative feedback session in the classroom and the posters with SN messages as positive, stimulating and surprising, the web-based application with SN feedback was rarely used and less positively evaluated. Anonymity and confidentiality were regarded as essential to provide honest answers in the poll. The pupils suggested even more variety in ways to engage them and to use more gaming elements. Conclusions: SN feedback was well perceived by adolescents. The intervention met their interest and needs and was able to achieve the intended impact of challenging norm perceptions. Anonymity and confidentiality are key in order to build trust and engage adolescents in the intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3200
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Research areas

  • Adolescents, Drug use, Focus group, Normative feedback, Qualitative research, Social norms

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