A high prevalence of Facebook content related to the Mifflin Street Block Party prior to the event warrants concern and represents potential opportunity, according to a study published in the current issue of WMJ (vol. 112, no. 6). After studying 66 first-year college students’ Facebook references to the block party—an annual event in Madison traditionally held each May—researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison identified advertisements on the social networking site as one option for alcohol-prevention messages.
The advertisements could be used by universities to create alcohol-prevention messages and target them to students displaying related content, the researchers suggest. “It is possible that Facebook may provide novel opportunities to identify students planning to attend such events toward providing anticipatory guidance,” the authors wrote in WMJ, the Wisconsin Medical Society’s peer-reviewed medical journal.
Study participants were selected from ongoing research involving full-time, first-year students for fall 2011 at UW-Madison who were 18 or 19 years old at the time. Of the 66 study participants, 18 displayed Mifflin-related content prior to the event, 11 displayed related content on the day of the block party and 19 displayed content after Mifflin.
“These references were associated with a high likelihood of drinking on the day of the event, and increased references were associated with a higher number of drinks reported,” the authors said.
According to telephone interviews with the study participants, 40 of the 66 students – all of whom were younger than the legal drinking age in Wisconsin – reported alcohol use on the day of the Mifflin Street Block Party. The mean number of drinks that day was 8.8.
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