Prototype Willingness Model cognitions mediate personalized normative feedback efficacy
Personalized normative feedback (PNF) interventions have been shown to be efficacious at reducing college student drinking. Because descriptive norms have been shown to mediate PNF efficacy, the current study focused on examining additional prototype willingness model social reaction cognitions, namely, prototypes and willingness, as mediators of intervention efficacy. We expected the PNF interventions to be associated with increased prototype favorability of students who do not drink, which would in turn be associated with decreased willingness to drink and subsequently, less drinking. The current study included 622 college students (53.2% women; 62% Caucasian) who reported one or more heavy drinking episodes in the past month and completed baseline and three-month follow-up assessments. As posited by the framework of the prototype willingness model, sequential mediation analyses were conducted to evaluate increases in abstainer prototype favorability on willingness on drinking, and subsequently willingness to drink on drinking behavior. Mediation results revealed significant indirect effects of PNF on three-month drinking through three-month prototypes and willingness, indicating that the social reaction pathway of the prototype willingness model was supported. Findings have important implications for PNF interventions aiming to reduce high-risk drinking among college students. Study findings suggest that we should consider looking at additional socially-based mediators of PNF efficacy in addition to perceived descriptive norms.