The Influence of Message Framing On University Student's Intent to Participate in Sustainable Behavior

Davis, J. J. (1995). The effects of message framing on response to environmental communications. Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, 72, 2, 285-299.
A literature review revealed how framing a communication can affect an individual's intent to participate in sustainable behaviors. Specifically, three types of message framing were uncovered. First, a problem could be described in terms of loss or gain. Second, an appeal could focus them primary effect of the problem as a concern for current or future generations. Finally, an activity could be framed in terms of taking less or doing more. For instance, a "doing more" activity would be recycling. Conservation, on the other hand, would be a "taking less" activity. Participants were asked to read a booklet containing an advertisement framed in one of the three conditions. Attitudes toward the advertisement and the participants' intent to behave in an environmentally responsible manner were measured on self-report scales.

Framing communication did have an effect on participants' responses to a message and on their intent to behave sustainably. The message was more effective when the recommended behavior was clearly described and when the participant was portrayed as personally and negatively affected by continued inaction.
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