Television, mass media, and environmental cultivation: a study of private forest landowners in Delaware

Petersen, John
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University of Delaware
The goal of this study was to survey private forest landowners in Delaware to extend previous studies into “environmental cultivation,” a research perspective that explores the theoretical link between television exposure and potential differences in the ecological worldviews of lighter versus heavier viewers. The study also sought to assess possible relationships between environmental attitudes and exposure to other mass media, as well as demographic, behavioral, and attitudinal variables. Seven hundred and eighty-seven non-industrial private forest landowners – owners of at least one acre of forestland as determined by geographic information systems (GIS) analysis – completed questionnaires measuring media use, environmental concern, attitudes on government regulation, pro-environmental behavior, environmental communication, forest ownership objectives, and land management. In addition to demographics such as age, education, political orientation, income, location of forest, size of acreage, and length of ownership, a fictionalized narrative measure was included to assess the effectiveness of narratives in determining levels of environmental concern. Results indicated that weekly TV viewing was positively correlated with support for private property-related variables, and this was significant using both traditional and narrative measures. Perception of environmental media coverage was also correlated to other measures of environmental attitude.
Cultivation theory , Delaware non-industrial private forest landowners , Environmental cultivation , Environmental communication