That is the question — to which we usually answer YES, if the norm is favorable. This small study suggests that we might need further research.
The Role of Social Norms in Personalized Alcohol Feedback: A Dismantling Study With Emerging Adults
This study compared two Web-based alcohol programs in a sample of incoming freshmen on the reduction of drinking and related risks (N = 122). Participants were randomized to either a standard personalized normative feedback (PNF) intervention with descriptive social norms, or to a version of the program with personalized feedback only (PFO). At 3-month follow-up results indicated that both programs reduced drinking and related risks significantly, and that PFO resulted in greater reductions on all alcohol use outcomes, with comparable reductions on alcohol-related risk. Findings suggest that the use of PFO may be preferable to use with first-year college students.
Alfonso, J. (2015). The Role of Social Norms in Personalized Alcohol Feedback: A Dismantling Study With Emerging Adults. Journal of Child & Adolescent Substance Abuse, (ahead-of-print), 1-8.