Journal of Applied Social Psychology

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Crafting messages to promote water conservation: Using time‐framed messages to boost conservation actions in the United States and China


Grounded in construal‐level theory (CLT), this experiment examines how messages with different temporal frames (i.e., present‐ vs. future‐framed) influence individuals' perceptions of, and reactions to, water conservation. One hundred ninety‐three participants, 99 from China and 94 from the United States, participated in this study. Results indicated that a present‐framed message results in more positive attitudes toward water conservation than the future‐framed message. Participants who scored higher on individual future‐time orientation show stronger behavioral intention to conserve water than participants who scored lower. A significant interaction between temporal message framing and country emerged such that the future‐framed message resulted in greater behavioral intention for Chinese participants than their U.S. counterparts whereas the present‐framed message did not differentially influence Chinese and U.S. participants. Implications of findings for theory‐building and application are discussed.

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