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10/06/2011

News Release - College Students Respond Better to Positive Anti-Binge Drinking Messages

Binge drinking among college students has long been viewed as dangerous and destructive. Government and non-profit health organizations spend millions of dollars annually on public service announcements (PSAs) aimed at dissuading college students from hazardous drinking habits. These organizations primarily use “loss-framed”, or negative messages, to show the dangers of binge drinking. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have found that “gain-framed”, or positive messages, are much more effective in convincing college students to abandon binge drinking.

Gain-framed messages portray positive reasons for avoiding risky behavior such as improved grades or more fulfilling relationships. Alternatively, loss-framed messages focus on negative consequences, such as failing school or suffering from health problems. Through in-depth interviews of college students, Joonghwa Lee, a doctoral candidate at the Missouri School of Journalism, identified four areas of interest for college students regarding the effects of binge drinking: relationships, academic success, health, and control safety.
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