Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Mass Communications

Major Professor

Kelly Werder, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Derina Holtzhausen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kelli Burns, Ph.D.


Environmental communication, Public relations


Utilizing J.E. Grunig's (1989a, 1997) situational theory of publics and Fishbein and Ajzen's (1975) theory of reasoned action, this empirical study examined the public's perception of reclaimed water. Specifically, the three independent variables - problem recognition, constraint recognition, and level of involvement - were separated into internal and external variables to determine their influences on behavioral intention. The independent variables were also used to determine the public's communication behavioral intention.

The findings of this study support the basic premise of the situational theory of publics and contribute to the extension of the theory through the inclusion of some of the variables used in the theory of reasoned action - subjective norm, attitude towards behavior, and behavioral intention. The importance of attitude towards behavior to the prediction of behavioral intention was found to be significant. Overall, the results of this research suggest that the situational theory of publics and the theory of reasoned action are very compatible together and can be combined in research to ultimately determine a public's communication behavior and actual behavior.