But how they receive this feedback can also make a difference in how students respond.
A lot of research shows that students tend to overestimate the amount of alcohol their peers drink. Therefore they think their own heavy drinking is "normal" behavior.
A study of 7,275 college students found that students who were given personal feedback either face-to-face or via the Internet about how much their peers actually consumed drank less often and indulged in less binge drinking that those who did not receive the information.
The web-based feedback also resulted in significant reductions in blood alcohol content and alcohol-related problems among students who received such feedback.
Web-Based Interventions Cost-Effective
"We know that social norms have a powerful impact on thought and behavior, so changing people's perceptions about what is normal can really help. Most of the effects lasted for a few months, but some lasted over a year, particularly for the web-based feedback," said lead researcher Maria Teresa Moreira, from the School of Health and Social Care at Oxford Brookes University in the UK, in a news release.
The researchers also found that group counseling and feedback sent through the mail were found to be less effective that the face-to-face and internet feedback.
"We can't make direct comparisons between the different interventions, but based on a small number of studies web-based interventions would certainly seem to be a cost-effective option for reducing alcohol misuse," said Moreira.
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