The Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth uses peer crowd segmentation to effectively target groups of youth at a higher risk of engaging is specific unhealthy behaviors. A peer crowd serves as an embodiment of smaller social groups that share similar culture like “values, interests, lifestyles, media habits, influences, and activities.”1,2 Cultural similarities for varying peer crowds can extend across geographical regions, meaning that a teenager from two different parts of the state can belong to the same peer crowd.1,2
Peer crowd segmentation is founded in peer culture influence on youth behavior, attitudes, and beliefs on a multitude of topics, such as using nicotine products, or abusing substances.2,3 Peer crowd targeting in public health interventions uses psychographics (vs. demographics) to appropriately tailor messaging to youth that is relevant to the peer crowd they identify with. The peer crowd campaigns implemented by VFHY are based on the Social Norms and Social Identity Theories.3 In Virginia, five peer crowds have been identified to develop strategic peer crowd campaigns for: Alternative, Hip-Hop, Country, Mainstream, and Popular (Preppy).
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