‘Students are drinkers
and always drunk!’
But is that image accurate?

Not really, according to research conducted by the University of Antwerp in collaboration with VAD and Ghent University.

With a targeted campaign consisting of memes, the city of Antwerp and the University of Antwerp are trying to dispel these misconceptions and change the behaviour of students who think drinking is part of the deal.

Our behaviour is largely determined by the ‘social norms’ of the group we belong to. But we often misjudge social norms.

As humans, we tend to underestimate the healthy behaviour of our reference group, and overestimate the unhealthy behaviour. This is called misperceptions. Among students, there is a misperception that they drink a lot. If, as a (new) student, you align your behaviour with this misperception, there is a risk that you will drink more than you want to. Your own behaviour becomes ‘unhealthier’.

Through the Social Norms Approach, we try to find out what the correct social norms are. So how much students actually drink. And we share that feedback with the target group, in order to achieve positive behavioural change In the case of students, we try to point out that people drink much less than they think. So through the campaign, we create awareness around alcohol consumption among students.”

Find more from ALCOHOLFACTS (Belgium, November 2022)

A translated version of an Antwerp municipal meme, Source: imgflip

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