This research investigated which type of online public health message was most effective in reducing self-reported alcohol consumption in young New Zealanders (aged between 18 and 25 years).
A literature review on the efficacy of different behavioural interventions informed the design of a randomised controlled trial, in which participants were allocated to one of four groups. All participants were presented with a set of behavioural tools to motivate reduction in drinking, and three groups received an additional message on the consequences of alcohol consumption, on one of the themes of health, physical appearance or social norms.
A lower than projected sample size limited the conclusions, but results included that intentions to change and knowledge about safe drinking levels were poor predictors of behaviour change. There was suggestive evidence that the health-based and social norm messages were more effective and that behavioural tools (combining personalised feedback, rules of thumb and behaviour plans) could reduce alcohol consumption in young people.