The effect of images on community engagement with sustainable stormwater management: the role of integral disgust and sadness

Tracy Schultz, Kelly Fielding, Fiona Newton, Winnifred Louis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Drawing on the Appraisal-Tendency Framework of emotion we tested a conditional pathway model across two experiments with community members (N = 235 and N = 388) using pro-environmental messages that included images eliciting either disgust or sadness. We tested the effects of images on message engagement (i.e., attitudes, knowledge, and behavioural-intention) via depth of processing and whether strength of environmental identity moderated these effects. As predicted, for people with lower levels of environmental identity, the disgust image conditions led to lower overall engagement with the message content indirectly via lower depth of processing, compared to a no image control condition (Study 1 and Study 2) or a sad image (Study 2). Contrary to what was predicted, the effect of the sad image condition did not increase depth of processing relative to the control condition (Study 2). The key finding suggests that disgusting images should be avoided in pro-environmental communication.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-35
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Environmental Psychology
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018


  • Appraisal-tendency framework
  • Dual-processing models
  • Environmental communication
  • Images
  • Integral emotions
  • Message processing

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