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Positive Community Norms

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DOSA New Logo 2022_bg removed_edited.jpg
Positive Community Norms 


At DOSA, we've embraced the power of Positive Community Norms (PCN) to amplify our message of reducing youth substance use within the community. Unlike traditional approaches that rely on shaming and fear, we celebrate the positive behaviors exhibited by our community members. This shift in focus from negative to positive ensures that our communication resonates effectively and resonantly.

Positive Community norms serves as the bridge between what we perceive and the actual realities. Often, societal issues are magnified beyond proportion, leading us to believe they are more pervasive than they truly are. By centering our conversations on positive actions and behaviors, we avoid inadvertently highlighting negative aspects, preventing them from gaining undue attention. 

Our goal is to narrowing the gap between perceived norms and actual norms within our community. By spotlighting the positive behaviors and norms present, we counterbalance this unintentional negative bias and highlight that positive behaviors are, indeed, the norm.



The foundation of Positive Community Norms (PCN) rests upon the Science of the Positive (SOTP), providing us with a transformative model to enhance community health. Rooted in the Seven Step Montana Model for Positive Community Norms Communication, our PCN framework incorporates leadership development, communication strategies, prevention resources, and structured reflection. This comprehensive approach nurtures positive norms within the community.

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The Science of the Positive

The Science of the Positive, as studied by researchers such as Linkenbach (2010), explores how positive factors impact culture and human experience. It operates under the core assumption that the Positive is real and worth growing. This field of study aims to systematize the identification, measurement, and growth of positive behaviors, attitudes, perceptions, traditions, language, and other factors that have a beneficial impact on health, culture, and human experience.

This doesn't imply adopting an overly optimistic viewpoint.


Positive Community Norms is a well-founded approach rooted in evidence. It focuses on honesty, balancing hope with acknowledging the challenges we confront. For instance, while we hold optimism that a majority of our youth abstain from alcohol consumption, we cannot overlook our apprehension concerning the significant number of young people engaging in risky drinking behaviors.


The issue of substance use among youth remains a genuine concern:

Despite if 519 Dedham youth are abstaining from vaping, 92 individuals still partake.


We certainly celebrate the positive strides made, yet we remain cognizant of the fact that even with a 15% reduction in vape users, some students persist in vaping.

Understanding Dedham Youth's Actual Norms

Metro West Survey Data (2021)

This is an overview of the actual norms among Dedham's youth, as revealed by the Metro West survey data collected in 2021. This data provides valuable insights into the behaviors and attitudes of Dedham High School (DHS) students related to substance use. The survey encompassed various key aspects, and the findings underscore the positive trends within our youth community.

Here are some key statistics from the survey data:

Electronic Vapor Products:

  • An encouraging 71% of DHS students have chosen not to use electronic vapor products. This statistic indicates a significant majority of students who have opted against engaging in this behavior. 

Frequency of Electronic Vapor Product Use

  • An overwhelming 92.8% of DHS students have demonstrated the decision not to use electronic vapor products on a daily basis. This underscores the fact that a vast majority of students do not engage in this behavior habitually.

Alcohol Use:

  • Approximately 54.3% of DHS students have made the decision to abstain from trying alcohol. This percentage highlights the substantial portion of students who have chosen not to experiment with alcohol.

Marijuana Use:

  • Impressively, 75% of DHS students have refrained from trying marijuana. This statistic showcases the substantial number of students who have chosen not to engage in marijuana use.

  • Recent Marijuana Use: A significant 87.1% of DHS students have not used marijuana in the past 30 days. This indicates that a substantial majority of students have opted against recent marijuana use.

Riding with Impaired Drivers:

  • An impressive 91.4% of students have not ridden in a car driven by a high school student under the influence of marijuana. This statistic underscores the safety-conscious choices made by the majority of students.

Driving Under the Influence:

  • Equally noteworthy, 93.9% of students have refrained from driving a car under the influence of marijuana. This statistic emphasizes the responsible behavior exhibited by a substantial percentage of students.

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