College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Christopher E. Clarke, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Communication

Faculty Directory

Research Focus

My research on health and environmental risk communication focuses on two broad questions: First, what factors motivate people to care about health and environmental topics? Second, how can we craft effective messages that motivate people to care more?

Within both areas, I am especially interested in the role of social-psychological factors like political ideology, attention to news media discourse, social norms, scientific consensus, and psychological distance. Specific topics of interest/expertise include energy development (i.e., unconventional oil and natural gas development via hydraulic fracturing; vaccine safety; and climate change, among others. I have an inter-disciplinary background in communication, public health, and environmental policy, and I try to engage all of these fields in my scholarship.

Current Projects

■ Designing messages to build public support for federal climate change policy, specifically a carbon tax.

■ Understanding social-psychological factors that drive public support for federal climate change policy, specifically a carbon tax.

■ Understanding social-psychological factors that drive public support for coronavirus pandemic mitigation measures (including social distancing and vaccination).

Select Publications

■ Clarke, C. E., and Evensen, D. (2019). The politics of scientific consensus? political divergence and partisanship in unconventional energy development in the United States. Energy Research & Social Science, 51, 156–67.

■ Clarke, C. E., et al. (2019). Communicating about climate change, natural gas development, and “fracking”: U.S. and international perspectives. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Climate Science, Oxford University Press.

■ Clarke, C. E., et al. (2016). How geographic distance and political ideology interact to influence public perception of unconventional oil/natural gas development. Energy Policy, 97, 301–309.

■ Clarke, C. E., et al. (2015). The influence of weight-of-evidence messages on (vaccine) attitudes: A sequential mediation model. Journal of Health Communication, 20(11), 1302–1309.

 

Contact

Phone: 703-993-8031

Email: cclark27@gmu.edu

Website: https://communication.gmu.edu/people/cclark27