Developing effective messages about potable recycled water: the importance of message structure and content

Price, J., Fielding, K. S., Gardner, J., Leviston, Z. and Green, M. (2015) Developing effective messages about potable recycled water: the importance of message structure and content. Water Resources Research, 51 4: 2174-2187. doi:10.1002/2014WR016514

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Author Price, J.
Fielding, K. S.
Gardner, J.
Leviston, Z.
Green, M.
Title Developing effective messages about potable recycled water: the importance of message structure and content
Journal name Water Resources Research   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1944-7973
Publication date 2015-04-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1002/2014WR016514
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 51
Issue 4
Start page 2174
End page 2187
Total pages 14
Place of publication Hoboken, NJ, United States
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Language eng
Subject 2312 Water Science and Technology
Abstract Community opposition is a barrier to potable recycled water schemes. Effective communication strategies about such schemes are needed. Drawing on social psychological literature, two experimental studies are presented, which explore messages that improve public perceptions of potable recycled water. The Elaboration-Likelihood Model of information processing and attitude change is tested and supported. Study 1 (N = 415) premeasured support for recycled water, and trust in government information at Time 1. Messages varied in complexity and sidedness were presented at Time 2 (3 weeks later), and support and trust were remeasured. Support increased after receiving information, provided that participants received complex rather than simple information. Trust in government was also higher after receiving information. There was tentative evidence of this in response to two-sided messages rather than one-sided messages. Initial attitudes to recycled water moderated responses to information. Those initially neutral or ambivalent responded differently to simple and one-sided messages, compared to participants with positive or negative attitudes. Study 2 (N = 957) tested the effectiveness of information about the low relative risks, and/or benefits of potable recycled water, compared to control groups. Messages about the low risks resulted in higher support when the issue of recycled water was relevant. Messages about benefits resulted in higher perceived issue relevance, but did not translate into greater support. The results highlight the importance of understanding people's motivation to process information, and need to tailor communication to match attitudes and stage of recycled water schemes' development.
Keyword Communication
Potable recycled water
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Institute for Social Science Research - Publications
Official 2016 Collection
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 3 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 3 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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