Date of Award

5-2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Applied Sociology

Committee Member

Dr. Catherine Mobley, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Ye Luo

Committee Member

Dr. Kenneth Robinson

Abstract

Environmental risk perception is how much risk people perceive as existing due to environmental hazards. This is a topic relevant to our time, a time of environmental policy shifts and concern about pollution, and is an important concept for policy makers to understand. This study explored the following questions: Do sociodemographic characteristics, such as gender, race, age and education, influence environmental risk perception? Do location characteristics, such as if the area surrounding the home is polluted or not, and length of residence, influence environmental risk perception? And finally, do health characteristics, both self-rated health and diagnosed conditions, influence environmental risk perception? This research aimed to expand the understanding of environmental risk perception by using sequential multiple regression to examine these three categories of variables. The data used for this study was collected by Dr. Ard, at the Ohio State University, via mail surveys of Ohio residents in 2015-2016. The results indicate that environmental risk perception is influenced by gender and race, and that these two variables remained significant across all three models. Woman and minorities scored higher on the environmental risk perception scale than men or white respondents. This suggests that policy makers and social impact analysis should focus on, and be sure to include the knowledge of, women and minorities in interventions focusing on environmental risk perception. Additionally, it suggests that a lack of power and authority could play a powerful role in shaping environmental risk perception, given the results on gender and race.

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