demonstrated that young people, markedly overestimate rates of harmful behaviours and negative attitudes in their peers. Such misperceptions can create a culture where negative behaviour is seen as the norm and aspiration for improvement are viewed as unrealistic.
Challenging these misperceptions with use of the social norms approach through mass media campaigns and educational initiatives has been found to be an effective aprroach. It is based on praising the positive behaviour of the majority. It has been used extensively in schools and colleges in the USA to reduce rates of substance use and other risky health behaviours, as well as for social issues such as bullying.