Exposing Substance Use Misperceptions Among Middle And High School Students Using A Web-Survey Strategy

David W. Craig, Ph.D., Dept. of Chemistry
H. Wesley Perkins, Ph.D., Dept. of Anthropology/Sociology
Hobart & William Smith Colleges


This workshop reveals the pervasive pattern of misperceptions regarding peer tobacco, alcohol and illicit drug norms found in a study of more than 8,000 middle and high school students. The data were collected anonymously in a customizable and cost efficient web-based survey conducted in twenty-eight schools in five states spread throughout the U.S. Based on these students' misperceptions of others in their grade, the workshop reveals the dramatic potential for pursuing social norms based prevention in secondary education. It also demonstrates how students hold misperceptions extending far beyond their own grade as they view their school peers.