Positive Community Norms

What is the Positive Community Norms (PCN) Campaign?

An evidence based strategy, our campaign works to correct misperceptions, reduce underage drinking and other drug use, reinforce positive parenting habits and raise awareness of the fact that the majority of students in Nevada County are making healthy choices.

What most think (and do) may surprise you…

Most youth do NOT engage in substance use, but most may think their peers do. Similarly, parents may think most teens drink alcohol, but they may not think it is an issue they need to address with their own child.

Our strategy to promote Positive Community Norms corrects misperceptions like these and, in the process, helps us all shift perspective, attitudes and even our behaviors for the better.

What you can do…Hear the conversation (what teens and their parents say), and then steer the conversation to correct any misperceptions and promote the positive norms. In other words, find the untold goodness and continuously spread it through mass media marketing efforts, school-based activities, or even dinner table conversations

Goals of the PCN Campaign:

  • Correct student misperceptions regarding their peers’ alcohol and other drug use.
  • Increase the number of youth who believe that alcohol and other drugs are harmful to their health.
  • Reduce youth substance use.
  • Correct community and adult misperceptions about teen alcohol and other drug use.

How it works

The Positive Community Norms campaign is a research-based strategy which recognizes that many young people are likely to conform to peer norms or feel the social pressure to do so. A growing number of studies show that both high school and college students’ personal drinking behavior is strongly influenced by their incorrect perception of peer drinking norms. Students typically think that the norms for both the frequency and the quantity of drinking among their peers are higher than they actually are.

The Social Norms approach works to correct negative misperceptions by collecting actual data that measures beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. The data is then incorporated into a marketing strategy using media materials and messages to correct commonly-held beliefs like “everybody does it.” By continuing to market the positive messages and true norms, the misperception that “everybody does it” is slowly altered until there is a realization that “not everyone does it.”

The Results

Research shows repeated exposure to a variety of positive, data-based messages can change the misperceptions that help sustain problem behaviors. Over time, the negative behaviors of a group begin to shift toward the more accurately perceived safer and healthier norms.

 Want more…

Why Good News? There are so many ways that positive news can improve our lives by bringing emotional well-being, inspiration and health. We know that we won’t have to look too far in Nevada County to find Good News about people young and old here in our wonderful community.

READ ARTICLE – Good News NC shifts perspective at the Silver Springs High School Health Fair