Challenging College Alcohol Abuse

Challenging College Alcohol Abuse (CCAA) is a social norms and environmental management program aimed at reducing high-risk drinking and related negative consequences among college students (18 to 24 years old). The intervention was developed at the University of Arizona based on work previously done at Northern Illinois University.

CCAA uses a campus-based media campaign and other strategies to address misperceptions about alcohol and make the campus environment less conducive to drinking. Studies have shown that college students tend to perceive their peers' level of drinking to be higher than it actually is, which in turn influences their own drinking behavior. CCAA's media campaign addresses these misperceptions by

  1. Communicating norms using data from surveys conducted at the university,
  2. Educating students on less-known or less-understood facts related to alcohol, and
  3. Offering an opportunity to change the "public conversation" around alcohol use among students, staff, and the local community.

Advertisements and articles in the school newspaper, press releases, campus displays, and other media are used to communicate factual information about alcohol and drugs and related topics such as health and wellness, sexual assault, and sexually transmitted diseases. ASAP, in collaboration with the Campuses Community Wellness Coalition, promotes non-alcohol social events that compete with traditional drinking occasions.

Some media coverage is targeted to higher-risk groups such as fraternity and sorority chapters, freshmen, women, and students living in residence halls. CCAA also includes components aimed at faculty and staff, parents, and the local community, such as encouraging increased restrictions and monitoring of on-campus and off-campus alcohol use.