This NIAAA funded R21 project seeks to narrow the disparity in alcohol intervention research by examining an innovative gamified, incognito, personalized normative feedback (PNF) intervention designed to reduce drinking among sexual minority women found to frequent popular social media sites (i.e., Facebook, Instagram) and overestimate norms related to peers’ general alcohol use and drinking to cope with sexual minority stigma.
Sexual identity specific descriptive drinking and stigma-coping norms are delivered to sexual minority women within an online competition designed to test lesbian, bisexual, and queer female stereotypes. Leveraging game mechanics informed by Self-Determination Theory, the competition’s progressive web app incorporates social media-inspired browse-able player profiles to increase believability and appeal as well as a wager-based system of points, leaderboards, and prizes to increase motivation and reward accurate peer perceptions. In addition, to decrease defensive reactions, question and feedback topics are ostensibly selected by chance in the game with treatment PNF on alcohol use and stigma-coping behaviors delivered alongside feedback on control topics of high interest to community members (e.g., stereotypes pertaining to style, relationships, sex, etc.). Appeal and credibility are also gained through sponsorship and promotion of the game by four collaborating community organizations trusted as sources for health and social information by sexual minority women.
After recruiting 2,105 lesbian, bisexual, and queer-identified women ages 21 to 55 years to take part in the competition and play 2 initial filler rounds, a sub-sample of 500 moderate to heavy drinkers were randomized to receive 1 of 3 unique sequences of feedback (i.e., Alcohol & Stigma-Coping, Alcohol & Control, or Control topics only) over 4 additional monthly rounds of play. Participants wagered points, received PNF on assigned topics, and competed for cash prizes as they tested the accuracy of their perceptions about the alcohol use, stigma-coping behaviors, health behaviors, future plans, style preferences, relationships, and sex lives of other lesbian, bisexual, and queer-identified women, and discovered how their own behaviors compare to actual group norms. Analyses currently underway will evaluate whether PNF on alcohol use corrected drinking norms and reduced sexual minority women’s alcohol consumption and negative consequences relative to PNF on control topics, examine whether providing PNF on stigma-coping behaviors in addition to alcohol use further reduced alcohol use and consequences beyond standard alcohol PNF, and identify mediators and moderators of intervention effectiveness.
- Boyle, S.C., LaBrie, J.W., Costine, L.D., Witkovic, Y.D. (2017) “It's how we deal”: Perceptions of LGB peers' use of alcohol and other drugs to cope and sexual minority adults' own coping motivated substance use following the Pulse nightclub shooting. Addictive Behaviors, 65, 51-55. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2016.10.001
- Boyle, S.C., Labrie, J.W., Witkovic, Y.D. (2016) Do Lesbians’ Overestimate Alcohol Use Norms? Exploring the Potential Utility of Personalized Normative Feedback. Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services, 28:3, 179-194 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10538720.2016.1190677
- Boyle, S.C., Omoto, A.M. (2013) Lesbian community oughts and ideals: normative fit, depression, and anxiety among young sexual minority women. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 38(1), 33-45. https://doi.org/10.1177/0361684313484900