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Effect of Providing Information on Students' Knowledge and Concerns about Hydraulic Fracking

Effect of Providing Information on Students' Knowledge and Concerns about Hydraulic Fracking

Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health. Part a 78(9): 595-601

Governmental agencies, regulators, health professionals, and the public are faced with understanding and responding to new development practices and conditions in their local and regional environment. While hydraulic fracking (fracking) for shale gas has been practiced for over 50 years in some states, it is a relatively recent event in the northeastern United States. Providing environmental health information to the public about fracking requires understanding both the knowledge base and the perceptions of the public. The knowledge, perceptions, and concerns of college students about fracking were examined. Students were interviewed at Rutgers University in New Jersey, a state without any fracking, although fracking occurs in nearby Pennsylvania. Objectives were to determine (1) knowledge about fracking, (2) rating of concerns, (3) trusted information sources, (4) importance of fracking relative to other energy sources, and (5) the effect of a 15-min lecture and discussion on these aspects. On the second survey, students improved on their knowledge (except the components used for fracking), and their ratings changed for some concerns, perceived benefits, and trusted information sources. There was no change in support for further development of natural gas, but support for solar, wind, and wave energy decreased. Data suggest that students' knowledge and perceptions change with exposure to information, but many of these changes were due to students using the Internet to look up information immediately after the initial survey and lecture. Class discussions indicated a general lack of trust for several information sources available on the Web.

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Accession: 057697400

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 25965194

DOI: 10.1080/15287394.2015.1017683

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