The Kiama Stop Underage Drinking Project, project managed by Kelly Andrews, successfully reduced misperceptions around underage drinking and parental provision of alcohol through a two-year social marketing approach in the zIllawarra region.
The project was funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC) and was a result of an ARC Future Fellowship awarded to CHaSR Director Professor Sandra Jones.
“Recognition by the AMI of the quality and effectiveness of our social marketing intervention is a significant achievement – for CHaSR and for ACU – but also results in increased awareness that an evidence-based, whole-of-community social marketing approach can change social norms and support young people and their parents in the decision to delay alcohol initiation,” Professor Jones said.
While the majority of Australian teenagers do not drink alcohol, many teens and their parents believe most teens do drink, which influences their alcohol-related attitudes and behaviours.
There is a perception that underage drinking is normal, which results in teenagers feeling pressured to drink and parents feeling pressured to provide alcohol.
The aim of the project was to reduce alcohol consumption by changing the culture so that teenagers think it is ok not to drink.
The CHaSR project team developed messages, events and activities targeting to three different groups: young people aged 12-17, their parents, and the broader community.
Over two years the team – in collaboration with partners from Kiama High School, Kiama Youth Centre, NSW Police, Kiama Junior Sporting Associations and North Kiama Neighborhood Centre – worked with students, parents, business and media outlets to raise community awareness and create an environment where it was ok not to drink.