The present study explores how companies use social media messages to communicate about the dangers of plastic pollution. Drawing from the emotions-as-frames model and the limited capacity model of motivated mediated message processing (LC4MP), this experiment identifies the effects of two message features (emotional frames: fear/hope, efficacy: low/high) in Instagram posts about plastic pollution. The discrete emotions hope, fear, and anger were analyzed as indicators of message processing, mediating the effects of messages features on memory, plastic pollution attitudes, political participation intentions, and social media intentions. Results of a path analysis show that fear-framed messages increased fear and anger, and high-efficacy information increased hope while reducing anger. In turn, anger increased all three persuasion outcomes, while hope and fear increased only behavioral intentions, not attitudes. Political ideology significantly moderated the model. The paper discusses implications for integrating discrete emotions into the LC4MP, as well as practical implications for corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability communicators.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law