While environmental issues are among the most serious threats to human security, they tend to rank toward the bottom of Americans’ priorities for political action. To redress this, environmental organizations strategically frame their mobilization communications in an attempt to garner the public’s support. Advocacy research groups encourage the use of motivational, economic and personal frames because of their ability to mobilize support through distinct psychological processes: efficacy, psychological proximity and emotion. An experimental study is conducted that tests the extent to which these mechanisms mediate environmental frames’ effects on support for an environmental campaign. Results of this study lead to the conclusion that motivational frames are unable to elicit efficacy in the target audience, thus proving ineffectual at influencing attitudes or behaviors. Economic and personal frames are more successful, aligning the audience’s attitudes with the message and operating through psychological proximity, sadness and anger to induce behavioral support for the environmental campaign.
Anspach, N. M., & Draguljić, G. (2019). Effective advocacy: the psychological mechanisms of environmental issue framing. Environmental Politics, 28(4), 615–638. https://doi.org/10.1080/09644016.2019.1565468