Reframing climate change as a public health issue: an exploratory study of public reactions
Climate change is taking a toll on human health, and some leaders into the public health community have urged their colleagues to provide voice to its health implications. Previous research has shown that Americans are just dimly conscious of the health implications of climate change, yet the literature on issue framing shows that providing a novel frame – such as for instance human health – might be potentially useful in enhancing public engagement. We conducted an exploratory study in the United States of people’s reactions to a public health-framed short essay on climate change.
U.S. adult respondents (n = 70), stratified by six previously identified audience segments, browse the essay and were asked to highlight in green or pink any portions associated with essay they found “especially clear and helpful” or alternatively “especially confusing or unhelpful.” Two dependent measures were created: a composite sentence-specific score based on reactions to all or any 18 sentences into the essay; and respondents’ general reactions towards the essay which were coded for valence (positive, neutral, or negative). We tested the hypothesis that five associated with six audience segments would respond positively towards the essay on both dependent measures.
There was clearly clear evidence that two associated with five segments responded positively towards the public health essay, and mixed evidence that two other responded in a positive way. Read more