Date of Award

2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Communication Studies

Department

Communication Studies

First Advisor

Norbert Mundorf

Abstract

The use of single-occupancy vehicles (SOVs) has had a profound impact on human health and the environment. In order to change the impact our travel behavior has on both the environment and our health, change needs to occur at an individual level. The purpose of this study was to determine effective framing strategies that will encourage individuals to use alternative, or sustainable transportation (ST), i.e. commuting by means other than SOV, and to compare the efficacy of this intervention to that of a “green” eating (GE) intervention. Using the Transtheoretical model (TTM) and its key constructs, self-efficacy and decisional balance, data were collected from 134 undergraduate students at the University of Rhode Island measuring their attitudes towards ST and GE, respectively. The intervention consisted of a pretest survey, four educational modules, tailored messaging and finally, a posttest. Data from the pretest survey contained each participant’s Stage of Change reflecting attitudes toward ST and GE. After the pretest, participants were randomized into the GE group or the ST group. Participants in the GE and ST groups received educational modules over the course of three weeks. Between each educational module, participants received motivational messages tailored to their respective stage, as determined in the pretest. Results from tests revealed that there were small positive shifts in stages in each of the treatment groups as well as small increases in decisional balance and self-efficacy as a result of the ST intervention.

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