Using A Fear Appeal During Two Crises The Influence of Fear and Collective Efficacy on Sustainable Intentions During the Corona- and Climate Change Crisis
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In climate change communication fear is frequently used to encourage sustainable behaviour. Using fear to persuade people into performing certain behaviour is a technique known as a fearappeal. It is often used and studied in health psychology, but so far little studies have been done in environmental psychology. A fear appeal usually consist of a threatening component and recommendation with protective action towards that threat. Since health psychology usually targets individual behaviour, this recommendation is aimed at increasing self-efficacy but since climate change is a complex global problem that needs collective action, it is argued that aiming to increase collective efficacy would be more effective. However, in climate change communication a efficacy component is often lacking. Two models that theorize different interdependency for the effects of fear and efficacy are discussed: The Extended Parallel Process Model and The Dual Pathway Model of Collective Disadvantage. Hypothesized is that a fear appeal would increase sustainable intentions and that a fear appeal would have more effect than an appeal with just fear or efficacy. 244 participants were randomly assigned to four conditions in a 2x2 design, where fear and collective efficacy were manipulated. No significant results were found to support the hypotheses, possible due to no significant effects of the manipulations. The influence of the threat of the 2020 coronavirus, as a possible accelerator in the system change needed to combat the climate crisis is discussed, as well as reframing the climate change message and the connection between health- and environmental psychology.