Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Douglas McKenzie-Mohr

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


The possibility of nuclear holocaust and the destruction of our environment are two issues that threaten all of humanity. As one would expect, disarmament proposals and proposals aimed at improving the quality of the environment have received overwhelming public support. However, while the public often engages in behaviour congruent with their attitudes toward environmental problems, they do not demonstrate attitude-behaviour congruence with regard to nuclear arms race issues. In addition to attempting to substantiate past research results concerning the determinants of peace and environmental activism, the purpose of this thesis was to identify the variables that bring about this discrepancy. This was accomplished by investigating a number of variables drawn from previous research. Specifically, random phone surveys of Kitchener-Waterloo adults were used to test the impact of these variables. Discriminant analyses revealed that compared to their nonactive counterparts, activists in each domain perceived greater threat, took stronger moral responsibility, believed that they had greater tactical efficacy, and reported stronger social influences toward activism. Further, they were more knowledgeable about their respective domains and were less likely than their nonactive counterpart to report that situational variables prevent them from becoming active. Moreover, as anticipated, a series of t-tests revealed that people's perceptions of threat, tactical efficacy, skill, collective control, moral responsibility, and social influences were greater when considering environmental issues then when considering arms race issues. The influence of situational variables did not differ between the two domains The implications for educating and mobilizing the public to become actively involved in disarmament and the preservation of the environment are discussed.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season