Alcohol Literacy Challenge (ALC) is a brief classroom-based program designed to alter alcohol expectancies and reduce the quantity and frequency of alcohol use among high school and college students. Alcohol expectancies are an individual's beliefs about the anticipated effects of alcohol use, including those that are positive (e.g., increased sociability, reduced tension) and negative (e.g., impairments to mental and behavioral functioning, increased aggressiveness or risk taking).
Some of the most desired effects--the arousing, positive, and prosocial effects--are placebo effects rather than pharmacological ones. ALC aims to correct erroneous beliefs about the effects of alcohol, decreasing positive and increasing negative expectancies. These shifts in expectancies have been shown to predict lower levels of alcohol use.
During a one-time ALC lesson, students learn about standard drinks, the range of alcohol expectancies, the difference between pharmacological effects and placebo effects, and efforts by alcohol companies to portray positive alcohol expectancies in advertisements. Part of the lesson involves watching video clips of commercials advertising alcohol. Students deconstruct the advertisements, identifying the positive alcohol expectancies conveyed and discussing the contradictions between those expectancies and alcohol's pharmacological and behavioral effects. In the high school version of ALC, students also divide into teams and assess the alcohol effects portrayed in alcohol-related video clips, earning points for correct answers.
The intervention, which requires 90 minutes for the high school version and 50 minutes for the college version, can be incorporated into an existing course (e.g., health education) and implemented in one or two class periods. Because the intervention is designed to challenge the unique expectancies of each participating student, it can be used across different populations and cultural groups. The intervention is implemented by teachers at the high school level and students at the college level. A 5-hour training is required for implementers and provides all materials needed to deliver the intervention. Versions of the intervention also are available for use with elementary and middle school students, although these versions were not included in the research reviewed for this summary.