4th UF Water Institute Symposium Abstract

Submitter's Name Julia Wester
Session Name Poster Session: Science, stakeholders and decision-making
Poster Number 18
Author(s) Julia Wester,  University of Miami (Presenting Author)
  Kiara Timpano,  University of Miami, Department of Psychology
  Debra Lieberman, University of Miami, Department of Psychology
  Shaina Fieldstone, Nova Southeastern University, Center for Psychological Studies
  Kenneth Broad, University of Miami, Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy
  Psychological and Social Factors Associated with Wastewater Reuse Emotional Distress in the United States
  Wastewater reuse (WWR) technology has improved greatly in recent decades and may be an important solution to global water challenges. Nevertheless, several psychological and social barriers to widespread adoption still exist. Individual disgust reactions, also known as the “yuck factor,” have been identified as central to attitudes toward WWR. It is not yet well understood what factors predict stronger emotional aversion, particularly how feelings of disgust might interact with personal moral ideology. The present study examined a wide range of factors in a large, context-neutral, web-based U.S. sample (N=207), focusing on which individual and psychological differences contribute to increased distress at the idea of using recycled water. Being female, scoring high on indices for moral “purity and sanctity” and “fairness and reciprocity” and scoring high on measures of “pathogen disgust sensitivity” all were factors that were significantly and independently associated with reported distress. Past exposure to the concept of WWR and higher levels of education were negatively correlated with reported distress.