Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Brenda Joly PhD

Second Advisor

Brenda Joly PhD


substance use, alcohol, marijuana, e-cigarettes, college students, substance use prevention


Substance use among college students impacts universities, communities and student outcomes across the United States. Based on the Monitoring the Future study (MTF), college students have a higher prevalence of past 30-day alcohol use at 63% than their non-college peers (59%) (2016). Nearly one-third of college students (32%) have had five or more drinks in a row in the past two weeks (2016). Monthly marijuana use for college students has remained steady at 22% (2016). Electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use is 6.9%, which is gaining in popularity but still lower than traditional cigarettes (8.9%) (2016). There are many prevention communication strategies that can be implemented to reduce college substance use. An area of research that deserves further exploration is poster campaigns. Evidence exists for the effectiveness of mass media campaigns to the public and campaigns at large universities (Berkowitz et al., 1996; Glider et al., 2001; Novak and Crawford, 2001; Perkins, 2002); however, small, campus-level poster campaigns are less well known. Based on social norms theory and the elaboration likelihood model, this research used social marketing campaigns among a sample population at the University of Southern Maine (USM), to deduce what prevention messages are the most effective among college students for preventing alcohol, marijuana and e-cigarette use.



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