Date of Award

Summer 8-9-2016

Degree Type

Closed Capstone Project

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Sheryl Strasser

Second Advisor

Amy Hawes



Development of a Social Norms Theory Based Alcohol Safety Marketing Campaign for GSU Using an Applied Social Norms Theoretical Approach


Sonia Williams Aghimien


Background: Excessive alcohol use among college students is a major public health issue in the United States Each year about 600,000 students suffer from alcohol-related injuries and about 1,800 of those injuries are fatal. In 2013, 40% of 18-24 year olds were enrolled in college, totaling over 12 million students. Many universities have implemented health communication campaigns to address excessive alcohol use, such as binge drinking in students due to their ability to promote behavior change by reaching a large audience for a relatively low cost.

Methods: The purpose of this capstone was to synthesize scientific literature supporting alcohol prevention and safety health communication messaging/campaigns and tailor it for a proposed project aimed at excessive alcohol consumption among students attending the Georgia State University downtown campus in Atlanta. This capstone project includes development of a theoretically-driven health communication campaign that could be broadcast via digital signage and other media formats.

Results: The Majority Rules! Campaign, to be implemented by GSU’s Department of Student Health Promotion was created to address / influence the perceived norms of GSU students related to alcohol consumption knowledge, attitudes and behaviors. Rather than focus on individual students, the campaign will aim to empower students to confront peers on excessive drinking that leads to adverse health and negative social consequences. The proposed intervention will take place during the academic year (August- May) and the content will expose students to actual normative perceptions among students, secondary consequences of excessive alcohol consumption, and the law enforcement response within the GSU community to deter such behavior.

Conclusion: The GSU Student Health Promotions Center will pilot test a modified version of the intervention during the Spring 2017 semester. The program evaluation will be critically important for future support to implement the campaign on a wider scale throughout all GSU campuses. The program has the potential to highlight significant prevention opportunities related to excessive alcohol prevention behavior on urban college campuses, which could improve alcohol-related injury rates over time.