Stand for Young Australians

Each February, thousands of people across Australia give up alcohol, sugar or another vice to raise vital funds for young people experiencing serious disadvantage. The febfast challenge run by the Youth Support and Advocacy Service (YSAS) provides an opportunity to not only give back to the community, but also experience the health benefits and self-satisfaction of a month off the booze, sugar or your vice of choice. However, it is the science behind your decision making and your ability to abstain from your chosen vice, that is the focus of a new study by Monash University’s BrainPark.

In partnership with YSAS for this year’s febfast campaign, BrainPark Researcher Erynn Christensen is looking to establish how your decision-making style impacts your febfast experience.

Are you a risk-taker or risk-averse? Are you reward-driven? How tolerant are you of uncertainty? What impact do your emotions have on your behaviour? Erynn’s research is trying to pick apart what it is that makes us different, when it comes to kicking a habit like abstaining from a vice during the febfast campaign.

This February, febfasters can opt-in at the point of registration to complete surveys and games. They will receive a personalised decision-making profile, whilst also contributing to essential research to shape programs, develop new tools and strategies for disadvantaged youth.

“We have developed fun and engaging games that assess aspects of decision-making to look at things like risk-taking, or how much our attention is drawn by rewards. This, paired with validated questionnaires, will provide insights into the motivation behind one’s decisions,” Ms Christensen said.

BrainPark’s personalised decision-making profile articulates where an individual sits on essential aspects of decision-making, implicated in simple day-to-day decisions, as well as decisions that need to be made in high-risk or impactful situations such as the workplace, or personal situations in which your choices significantly impact yourself, friends, or family.

“We capture your decision-making profile the week before the challenge starts. We then touch base with you through 2-minute weekly surveys, at the end of each week of the challenge to see how you are tracking,” Ms Christensen said.

Ms Christensen said people engage in potentially dependent behaviours all the time, from alcohol use to social media scrolling, but only a subset of people develop problems.

“If we can establish that a particular decision-making profile lends you to have a higher risk of developing problems, we can then develop programs and tools to help reduce that risk.”

To learn more about the research click here.

To sign up for febfast 2022 and participate in the study click here