First Advisor

Brianne Suldovsky

Term of Graduation

Winter 2021

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Communication






Air -- Pollution -- Oregon -- Portland -- Public opinion, Air -- Pollution -- Oregon -- Portland -- Prevention -- Public opinion, Environmental health



Physical Description

1 online resource (iv, 45 pages)


The availability and demand for localized air quality information from communities are on the rise. However, not all information and not all communities are the same. Effective engagement and communication strategies will depend on a community's existing knowledge, opinion about air quality, individual experiences with inequities, and more. This study aims to understand how people living in Portland, Oregon understand and experience air pollution as an environmental risk and examine the extent to which those risk perceptions relate to confidence in science and technology. This gap is critical because of the complex interaction between air pollution and the risk perception of increased advancements in science and technology.

Data were collected from early March through early April 2020 via an online survey administered through Qualtrics. The population of interest was respondents who live within the city limits of Portland, Oregon. The online survey measured a total of 1,000 Portlander's and their risk perceptions as defined by the EPPM (perceived severity, perceived susceptibility, and self-efficacy) and confidence in science and technology to solve environmental problems. Results found that confidence in science and technology is positively correlated with self-efficacy, and negatively correlated with perceived severity and susceptibility. In other words, it was found that higher confidence in science and technology is associated with feeling like one can protect themselves from air pollution and feeling like air pollution is not a severe risk that one is susceptible to. Conversely, perceptions of high severity and susceptibility are associated with lower confidence in science and technology. Implications and opportunities for future research are discussed.


© 2021 Dawn Nicole Nolan

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