Social marketing and community mobilisation to reduce underage alcohol consumption in Australia: A cluster randomised community trial

Bosco Charles Rowland, Joanne Williams, Rachel Smith, Jessica Kate Hall, Amber Osborn, Peter Kremer, Adrian B. Kelly, Eva Leslie, George Patton, Mohammadreza Mohebbi, John W. Toumbourou

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Background and aims: In many countries adolescent alcohol use is a major health problem. To supplement national policies, it is important to trial community interventions as a potential strategy to prevent adolescent alcohol use. Methods: This study evaluated a multicomponent community intervention that included community mobilisation, social marketing, and the monitoring of alcohol sales to minors. Evaluation was a clustered randomised trial design with 14 intervention and 14 control communities. Prior to randomisation, communities were matched on socioeconomic status and location. Intervention communities were not blinded. Participants: 3545 Year 8 students (M = 12 years) were surveyed at baseline from 75 schools; 3377 students were surveyed post intervention in 2013 from 54 schools. Outcomes: It was hypothesised that the primary outcome, individual alcohol consumption in last 30 days, after the intervention would be 15% lower in intervention communities. Secondary outcomes were consumption in the past year and intention not to drink before age 18. Results: The intervention communities showed larger relative reductions compared to the controls in last 30-day consumption and past year (10%), but not significantly different. A significantly lower proportion of participants in the intervention community (63%), compared to the controls (71%), reported intending to drink before 18 years old. Subgroup analysis identified regional and state differences for some secondary measures. Conclusions: Intervention assignment was associated with lower adolescent intention to drink before the age of 18. However, more intensive and longer-term intervention may be required to measure significant differences in behaviour change. Trial registration: ACTRN12612000384853. Protocol: Rowland B, Toumbourou JW, Osborn A, et al. BMJ Open 2013;3:e002423. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-002423

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-139
Number of pages8
JournalPreventive Medicine
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018
Externally publishedYes

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