Exposing pluralistic ignorance to reduce alcohol use among college students

Christine M. Schroeder, Deborah A. Prentice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

209 Scopus citations


Research has shown that students' beliefs about alcohol use are characterized by pluralistic ignorance: The majority of students believe that their peers are uniformly more comfortable with campus alcohol practices than they are. The present study examines the effects of educating students about pluralistic ignorance on their drinking behavior. Entering students (freshmen) participated in either a peer-oriented discussion, which focused on pluralistic ignorance, or an individual-oriented discussion, which focused on decision making in a drinking situation. Four to 6 months later, students in the peer-oriented condition reported drinking significantly less than did students in the individual-oriented condition. Additional results suggest that the peer-oriented discussion reduced the prescriptive strength of the drinking norm. The implications of these results for models of social influence and for the representation of peer opinion are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2150-2180
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Applied Social Psychology
Issue number23
StatePublished - 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology


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