Project euPrevent Social Norms Approach

‘Together we are working in a cross-border setting to ensure good public health in the Euroregion Meuse-Rhine. We keep people informed and inspire them to make healthier choices.’

Various sources, as well as the surveys we have conducted, paint a worrying picture of the consumption behaviours that are harmful to health among young people aged between 12 and 26 years and elderly people aged 55 years and above in the Euroregion Meuse-Rhin (EMR).

Alcohol, cannabis, video games and medicines… what is the real situation?

Human beings are, by nature, social, so our behaviour is primarily influenced by the way we see others behaving and what we perceive to be ‘normal’. But the perception we have of others’ lifestyles is often inaccurate. Having a more precise idea of the behaviour actually adopted by our peers may be a powerful lever to encourage us to adjust our own behaviour. This is the principle behind the Social Norms Approach (SNA).

Project framework

Target group: Young people (12-26 years) and senior citizens (55+) in the EMR
Period: 1 September 2018 until 28 February 2022

Focus of the project

The aim of the project is to strengthen the existing prevention initiatives in collaboration with Euroregion Meuse-Rhin and West-Eifel region (DE) professionals, through the SNA.

From 2021, we will be broadcasting positive awareness messages based on the results of our survey. With this material, younger and older people can be encouraged by professionals and their peers to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

 About the Social Norms Approach

The Social Norms Approach is a preventive method with proven efficacy based on four principles:

  • As human beings, we observe what others do to determine our own behaviour.
  • We think that risky behaviour is more common among others than it actually is.
  • This then influences our own behaviour: if we believe that others are acting in a given way, we end up adopting this behaviour ourselves.
  • Proper communication about our peers’ actual behaviour enables people to reconsider their behaviour. As a result, risky consumption behaviour will become less and less common.

Within the framework of the Social Norms Approach, positive messages emphasising the protective behaviour most people adopt serve as a basis for appropriate and effective communication.

The survey

The euPrevent Social Norms Approach project focused on the following behaviours in the Euroregion Meuse-Rhine region and the West-Eifel region (DE):

• The consumption of alcohol, cannabis and gaming among young people aged 12–26.
• The consumption of alcohol and medicines among people aged 55+.

Thanks to this survey data, we are lifting the veil over these perceived and actual behaviours. By adding the SNA to the existing health promotion methods and communicating with one another about the current social norm, we can promote a healthy lifestyle in the Euroregion Meuse-Rhin.

Prevention and awareness campaign

Based on the survey results, we are developing an awareness campaign at euregional scale aimed at people in the two target groups, to provide them with up-to-date information about alcohol, cannabis and medicine consumption and the use of video games. This is all in an aim to inspire them and encourage them to make healthier lifestyle choices.

Become a partner and join us!

Anyone who wants to contribute to a healthier lifestyle in our region can take part in this project. In the course of 2021, you can download the awareness material from this website. You will also find all the information about our training for education professionals, healthcare professionals, municipal employees and managers.

In this training, you will learn:
• To put the Social Norms Approach into practice effectively.
• To use the Social Norms Approach in addition to other methods of prevention.

Collaboration

The euPrevent Social Norms Approach project is a collaboration between 11 project partners from the Euregio Meuse-Rhine and the West-Eifel region (DE), who have been working together for more than 15 years on various projects within the ‘euPrevent Addiction’ programme. Mondriaan is the lead partner of this project.

After this project, the ‘Social Norms Approach’ remains applicable and can be used to prevent other health problems in the Euregio Meuse-Rhine.

The euPrevent Social Norms Approach project is being carried out within the context of Interreg V-A Euregio Meuse-Rhine, with € 1.065.840,- from the European Regional Development Fund. The project also receives co-financing and project partners pay their own contribution.

Events

Soon

Final Conference euPrevent Social Norms Approach

January 27, 2022

Retrospect

Kick-off Conference euPrevent Social Norms Approach

January 31, 2019

News

May 5, 2021

Infographic Results Euroregional Health Survey Target Group Senior Citizens (55+)

April 14, 2021

Infographic Results Euroregional Health Survey Target Group Young People (12-26 years)

March 18, 2021

Dutch article: The Social Norms applied to over-55s in the border region of the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium