Audience segmentation to create more effective prevention messages

A recent Australian study found several clues to understand what motivates parents to provide alcohol to their underage children:

  • They want their child to fit in with other kids
  • They want to be the child’s “friend” as well as a parent (the “cool” parent)
  • They see it as a strategy to minimize risk of harm
  • They look at the years before legal drinking age as a time to learn how to drink responsibly
  • They trust their child to make good decisions

Motivations of parents who preferred not to supply alcohol:

  • They want to protect and keep their child safe
  • They want their child to have fun
  • They want to teach their children about boundaries
  • They want to set an example for their child
  • They want to comply with laws

Both groups made similar responses about taking action based on their perceptions of social norms among other parents.

In conclusion, this study found some clear differences in the priorities and concerns of parents who provide their children with alcohol versus those who do not. This information can help health promoters to create messages targeted at parents who are more likely to provide alcohol, by addressing or counteracting the parents’ motivations.

Jones, S. C., Magee, C., & Andrews, K. (2015). ‘I think other parents might.…’: Using a projective technique to explore parental supply of alcohol. Drug and alcohol review.

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