Date of Award

2021

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs

Department

Marine Affairs

First Advisor

Emily Diamond

Abstract

Academic literature to date has effectively proven the scale of plastic pollution’s harm to the environment. Some scholars have even argued that it should be discussed broadly in society as a crisis (Mæland & Staupe‐Delgado 2019). To reduce plastic pollution, potential policies need widespread support. Existing literature shows framing manipulations can influence opinion and care for plastic pollution but have not been tied to policy support. This study looked to assess the difference in policy support between groups framed with plastic pollution contributing to climate change causing emissions, plastic pollution endangering charismatic animals, or a control framing with simple information regarding how plastic enters the environment. The hypothesis being tested was that a climate change frame would be more impactful than a charismatic animal frame and therefore be associated with higher policy support. This was tested through a survey experiment of 600 respondents on an online survey platform. Analysis was conducted through SPSS using two regression models for accuracy. The hypothesis was not supported; overall, the control framing and charismatic animal frames were associated with higher support of the most outcome variables. This shows that plastic reduction policies with strong framing may trigger strong identities, and therefore simple explanatory information may be more sufficient. Furthermore, this paper discusses the impact of framing on political and sex subgroups, elucidating a clearer understanding of how these identities differ in support of plastic reduction policies and behavior changes.

Available for download on Saturday, October 23, 2021

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