Term of Award

Summer 2021

Degree Name

Master of Science in Experimental Psychology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Lawrence Locker

Committee Member 1

Rebecca Ryan

Committee Member 2

C. Thresa Yancey


Sweeny and Shepperd (2007, 2009) proposed the Bad News Response Model (BNRM), outlining three effective responses (i.e., Watchful Waiting, Active Change, Acceptance) as a function of the perceived controllability, likelihood, and severity of bad news. In the current study, we have adapted the BNRM, previously used in health-related scenarios, to explore the relationship between message content and responses in the context of hurricane warnings. Participants viewed hurricane warnings manipulated by severity (Category 1 vs. Category 5) and the inclusion of call-to-action statements (CTAs). The present study attempted to evaluate the effects of severity and controllability on participants’ engagement in desirable response types. We found that individuals chose Active Change more frequently when the severity was high. However, the situational factors did not significantly affect preferences for Watchful Waiting and Acceptance. The lack of significant severity and controllability effects were likely due, in part, to our small sample size, which severely underpowered the study. Also, individuals may have misinterpreted the intended manipulations. Thus, further research is necessary to provide more insight into the communication of weather, encourage appropriate preparations for approaching storms, and inform potential policy changes for weather reporting.

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material