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A Road Paved With Safe Intentions: Increasing Intentions To Use Alcohol Protective Behavioral Strategies Via Deviance Regulation Theory.

R. Dvorak, M. Pearson, C. Neighbors, M. Martens, B. Stevenson, N. Kuvaas
Published 2016 · Psychology, Medicine

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OBJECTIVE Drinking remains a problem across college campuses. Changing this behavior requires interventions that can be easily and widely dispersed. Several theories place intentions as a proximal predictor of behavior change. The current study examines the effects of a Web-based Deviance Regulation Theory (DRT) intervention on (1) intentions to use alcohol protective behavior strategies (PBS) and (2) associations between these intentions and actual behavior. METHOD Participants (n = 76) completed a 6-week, Web-based study examining drinking behaviors. Participants were randomly assigned to receive a positive frame about individuals who use PBS or a negative frame about individuals who do not. They also reported normative perceptions of PBS use among college students. They subsequently logged onto a secure server each week to report on alcohol involvement, use of 3 types of PBS (Manner of Drinking, Stopping/Limiting, and Serious Harm Reduction), and intentions to use these PBS the following week. RESULTS Consistent with DRT, negative frames resulted in higher PBS use intentions if individuals held high normative beliefs about PBS use. Positive frames resulted in higher Manner of Drinking PBS use intentions if individuals held low normative beliefs about PBS use, but only if individuals endorsed a high belief in the frame. In addition, there was a DRT consistent increase in intention-action associations, but only for Stopping/Limiting PBS. DISCUSSION A brief Web-based DRT intervention was effective at increasing PBS intentions and increasing PBS intention-action associations. DRT may provide a mechanism to additively or synergistically improve other Web-based interventions for college drinking. (PsycINFO Database Record
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