The Effects of Appraised Severity and Efficacy in Promoting Water Conservation: An Informational Analysis

Kantola, S. J., Syme, G. J., & Nesdale, A. R. (1983). The effects of appraised severity and efficacy in promoting water conservation: An informational analysis. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 13, 2, 164-182.

To test R. W. Rogers's (see PA, Vol 55:4488) and M. Fishbein and I. Ajzen's (1975) behavioral intention model, 38-48 Ss observed 1 of 4 water conservation films differing in message severity (high/low) and efficacy of conserving (high/low). A questionnaire assessed the impact of the films on (1) the arguments (informational items) presented; (2) beliefs external to the films; (3) fear arousal; (4) Fishbein's mediating variables SN (a person's generalized normative beliefs about a behavior) and A-sub(act ) (evaluative attitudes toward behavior); (5) appraised severity and efficacy; and (6) behavioral intention to conserve water. High efficacy and low-severity messages increased positive evaluative attitudes (A-sub(act)) toward conserving water. Although there was no effect for these manipulations on behavioral intention, the film groups, when compared with a control group ( n = 20) that did not observe a film, showed significantly greater intentions to conserve water. Results are accounted for through an informational analysis of the beliefs affected by the films. This analysis did not support Fishbein's assertion of a dominant mediational role for SN and/or A-sub(act ) in predicting behavioral intentions. The possible inclusion of a moral norm measure as a 3rd component of Fishbein's model is dicussed. (27 ref)

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