Informed by the theory of normative social behavior, this article sought to determine the underlying mediating and moderating factors in the relationship between descriptive norms and behavioral intentions. Furthermore, the theory was extended by asking whether and what role behavioral identity played in normative influences. Simulating the central message of norms-based interventions to reduce college students' alcohol consumption, in this field experiment, descriptive norms were manipulated by informing half of the students (n = 665) that their peers consumed less alcohol than they might believe. Others (n = 672) were not provided any norms information. students' injunctive norms, outcome expectations, group identity, behavioral identity, and behavioral intention surrounding alcohol consumption were then measured. Exposure to the low-norms information resulted in a significant drop in estimates of the prevalence of consumption. Injunctive norms and outcome expectations partially mediated and also moderated the relationship between descriptive norms and behavioral intentions. Group identity and behavioral identity also moderated the relationship between descriptive norms and behavioral intentions, but the effect size was relatively small for group identity. Implications for health campaigns are also discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)