Academic journal article Journal of Alcohol & Drug Education

Effects of a 10-Minutes Peer Education Protocol to Reduce Binge Drinking among Adolescents during Holidays

Academic journal article Journal of Alcohol & Drug Education

Effects of a 10-Minutes Peer Education Protocol to Reduce Binge Drinking among Adolescents during Holidays

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

Aim of this study was to evaluate a standard ten-minute peer education protocol to reduce binge drinking among Dutch adolescents at campsites during summer holidays. Using a quasi-experimental design, we evaluated the effects of the peer education protocol as applied by trained peer educators. We collected data by telephone interviews fourteen days after the holiday. Peer education significantly increased knowledge on the risks of alcohol abuse and promoted personal reflection on alcohol intake. After peer education, adolescents had a more realistic view of their alcohol intake, more frequently perceived alcohol intake of their friends as binge drinking, and reported a higher intention to drink less alcohol in the future. Contrary to expectations, adolescents reported less self-efficacy to reduce alcohol use after peer education.

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In the Netherlands, the average age at which adolescents start to drink alcohol is 12.2 years (Van Dorsselaer, Zeijl, Van den Eeckhout, Ter Bogt & Vollebergh, 2007). Alcohol consumption increases with age, and excessive alcohol consumption during adolescence may lead to significant substance-related problems (Knibbe et al., 2007). In time-out settings, such as during holidays, normal rules of society are not strictly upheld, and the setting gives way to personal expression and instant satisfaction (MacAndrew & Edgerton, 1969; Zack & Volgel-Sprott, 1997; Knibbe, 2001). During holidays, heavy drinking is widespread and normalized (Bellis, Highes, Dillon, Copeland & Gates, 2007; Van de Luitgaarden, Wiers, Knibbe & Boon, 2006; Van de Hoef, Lemmers, Knibbe, 2001). During summer holidays, campsites and beaches along the Dutch coastline are popular time-out settings among Dutch adolescents. With lack of parental supervision and few activities that have to be done, the main pastime during holidays seems to be drinking alcohol. At Dutch campsites, boys on average drink seventeen glasses of alcoholic beverages daily, while girls on average drink seven glasses of alcoholic beverages (De Graaff & Poort, 2004).

Direct interventions within these time-out settings are the best way of addressing these binge drinking behaviors. The information has instantaneous relevance, because it is delivered within the setting in which it should be used. However, the nature of timeout settings limits the access of professional prevention workers to conduct alcohol prevention education (Health Education Authority, 1993), and peer education seems more suitable. Peer education is a widely used method in health education (Turner & Shepherd, 1999), especially in relation to risk behaviors (Caceres et al., 2007; Garfein et al., 2007; Ross, Harzke, Scott, McCann & Kelley, 2006; Kean, 2006). Studies of peer education on smoking prevention have shown that peer education is a suitable method to discuss the use of substances with adolescents (Audrey, Holliday & Campbell, 2006; Audrey, Cordall, Moore, Cohen & Campbell, 2004).

In this study, we describe the development and evaluation of the Dutch Campsite Campaign, which is part of the Annual Dutch Alcohol Temperance Campaign. The annual campaign, which has been organized by the Netherlands Institute for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention every year since 1998, uses broad mass media messages, while the Dutch Campsite Campaign uses targeted peer education primarily aimed at campsites to educate adolescents on the consequences of binge drinking. To create an integrated communication, the mass media messages and the peer education do have the same slogan, "Booze, the Hangover Comes Afterwards," and a similar appearance of the health education materials.

In the Dutch Campsite Campaign, approximately 20,000 young people in seaside communities are reached every year by teams of trained adolescents ("peers") to inform them about the risks of alcohol and to discuss their consumption of alcohol. …

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