Research Example #5

Wiedermann, Wolfgang, Jürg Niggli, and Ulrich Frick. “The Lemming-Effect: Harm Perception of Psychotropic Substances among Music Festival Visitors.” Health, Risk & Society 16, no. 4 (May 2014): 323–38. doi:10.1080/13698575.2014.930817.

 

This article focuses on the public’s perception of how harmful psychotropic substances are among music festival goers. The researchers surveyed a sample of 367 attendees of the Open-Air St. Gallen music festival in Switzerland in 2009. The study specifically focused on the perceived harm of heroin, cocaine, cannabis, alcohol, and tobacco by using a split-ballot experiment to find out the impact cognitive accessibility of high drug consumption norms on perceived drug-related harm has in a social context that encourages drug use. Many harm minimization approaches focus on the harm that can be done with substance use, while others focus on a zero-tolerance based approach that assumes that the harm is inherent in the substance itself, in an aim to reduce the consumption of substances at these types of events.  Researchers found evidence that suggests that people shape their patterns of substance consumption and other health-related behaviors at these events around how said behavior is perceived by their peers. This is another great example of a study that has already been conducted regarding certain topics I discuss in my project. I believe that feedback of social norms strongly affects behavior, specifically for these types of events because of the very positive and communal attitudes this culture greatly supports.

 

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