Investigating the Long-Term Impacts of Climate Change Communications on Individuals' Attitudes and Behavior

Rachel A. Howell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To assess the effectiveness of climate change communications, it is important to examine their long-term impacts on individuals' attitudes and behavior. This article offers an example study and a discussion of the challenges of conducting long-term investigations of behavioral change related to climate change communications (a vital and underresearched area). The research reported is a longitudinal panel study of the impacts on UK viewers of the climate change movie The Age of Stupid. The heightened levels of concern, motivation to act, and sense of agency about action that were initially generated by the movie did not measurably persist over the long term. The results also show that behavioral intentions do not necessarily translate into action. Data analysis raised issues concerning the reliability of participants' causal attributions of their behavior. This and other methodological challenges are discussed, and some ways of avoiding or lessening problems are suggested.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-101
Number of pages32
JournalEnvironment & Behavior
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014


  • Climate change communications
  • Pro-environmental behaviour
  • Behavioural change
  • Behavioural intentions
  • Public attitudes
  • Fear Appeals
  • Information
  • Attributions
  • Risk perception
  • Engagement

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