Who Listens to Trash Talk?: Education and Public Media Effects on Recycling Behavior

Martinez, M. D. & Scicchitano, M. J. (1998). Who listens to trash talk?: Education and public media effects on recycling behavior. Social Science Quarterly, 79, 2, 287-300.

Examined whether public media efforts on one community-oriented behavior (recycling) are effective and whether media effects are greater for those with higher levels of education. Based on J. Zaller's (1993) model, attitude change was expected to correspond with the likelihood of receptivity of information, which should be roughly related to education. Individual-level data on recycling participation were collected from 1,020 Florida residents, as well as recycling-program information (including media efforts) and contextual data (median income, percent of population with some college, and percent of population over the age of 65 yrs) from the counties and cities in which the Ss live. Results show that media efforts to promote recycling were successful, within limits. As hypothesized, media effects were greater among those with higher levels of education.

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