The Ringsted Experiment (Ringstedforsøget)

The Ringsted experiment took its departure from three well-documented facts: First, that conventional prevention efforts aimed at reducing young people’s risk behaviour through information, scare campaigns, or education show little, if any, positive effect; second, that different kinds of risk behaviour are correlated; third, that children and young people often demonstrate normative misperceptions about their peers’ risk behaviour.

The experiment had two objectives. Firstly, to reduce children’s exaggerated beliefs about other children’s risk behaviour; secondly, to examine whether reductions in normative misperceptions of other children’s risk behaviour would impact the children’s own actual risk behaviour (tobacco, alcohol, drugs and crime).

A large questionnaire was distributed among both Treatment and Control classes. Smoking was used as topic for discussion. Results regarding smoking were discussed in the classroom with children from Treatment classes, as were reasons for the exaggerations found. Follow-up questionnaires were distributed six weeks and a year after the intervention.


The project started in 2001 and is now finished.
Last review: September 2017.


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