Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Dynamics (PhD)

Degree Level



Environmental Dynamics


Robert M. Brady

Committee Member

Stephen A. Smith

Second Committee Member

Lance M. Cheramie


Attitude-Behavior Gap, Climate Change, Conflict Resolution, Environmental Communication, Science Communication, Strategic Message Design


National Polls in the United States consistently find the public’s beliefs and attitudes about climate change and other environmental issues significantly diverge from those held by the science community. A communication gap between the findings on the causes and effects of environmental issues and the public’s inability to interpret or refuse to accept these findings are possible causes of this divergence. This communication gap constitutes a threat to society because of inaction to environmental problems and points to needed changes in scientific messaging that better informs and motivates behavioral change. The present research employed a strategic message design to affect environmental attitude and behavioral intent. A pre-and post-survey assessed the effectiveness of the message design as an Environmental Communication Teaching Tool using two groups of participants sampled from three enrolled university courses. The message design significantly influenced attitude and behavior intent to engage in pro-environmental actions. Analyses confirmed the Teaching Tool’s effectiveness in reducing the attitude-behavior gap in science communication.