Alan E. Stewart

Biography

Alan E. Stewart is a weather and climate psychologist at the University of Georgia. Dr. Stewart is a professor in the Department of Counseling and Human Development in the Mary Frances Early College of Education. He also is an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Geography and a member of the Atmospheric Science program. He has been a faculty member at the University of Georgia since 2002. He is originally from Charlotte, North Carolina.

Areas of Expertise

  • Psychology of Weather and Climate

Interests

  • Psychology of Weather and Climate

Academic Affiliations

Education

  •  Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology, 1994
    The University of Georgia
  •  M.A. in Community/Clinical Psychology, 1988
    The University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  •  B.A. in Psychology, 1985
    The University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  •  Undergraduate Certificate in Atmospheric Science, 2009
    The University of Georgia - Department of Geography

Contact

 Aderhold Hall, 405
 706-542-1812 (office)

Research Summary

Dr. Stewart conducts novel interdisciplinary research at the intersection of weather, climate, and psychology. Dr. Stewart has conducted research and published in areas relating to education and preparation of K-12 students for severe and extreme weather. He also has published on hurricane risk perceptions and the likelihood of evacuation. Dr. Stewart’s other research in this area includes personological bases of weather salience and the latent linguistic dimensions that underlie weather and climate perception. Recent work includes weather and emotion regulation, climate change worry, and perception of weather as events. Dr. Stewart is interested in psychometrics. scale development, and interdisciplinary research methods that encompass quantitative and qualitative research.

Publications

  • Stewart, Alan E.
  • Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society
Climate change worry involves primarily verbal-linguistic thoughts about the changes that may occur in the climate system and the possible effects of these changes. Such worry is one of several possible psychological responses (e.g., fear, anxiety, depression, and trauma) to climate change. Within this article, the psychometric development of the ten-item Climate Change Worry Scale (CCWS) is detailed in three studies. The scale was developed to assess proximal worry about climate change rather than social or global impacts. Study 1 provided evidence that the CCWS items were internally consistent, constituted a single factor, and that the facture structure of the items was invariant for men and women. The results from Study 1 also indicated a good fit with a Rasch model of the items. Study 2 affirmed the internal consistency of the CCWS items and indicated that peoples’ responses to the measure were temporally stable over a two-week test–retest interval (r = 0.91). Study 3 provided support for the convergent and divergent validity of the CCWS through its pattern of correlations with several established clinical and weather-related measures. The limitations of the studies and the possible uses of the CCWS were discussed. The current work represents a starting point.
  • Stewart, Alan E.
  • International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Weather salience is a construct that pertains to the psychological value, significance, and attunement that people have for the weather and its changes. In this article the author describes the construct of weather salience and a measure that was created to assess it, the Weather Salience Questionnaire (WxSQ). The author evaluates the measure’s psychometric properties, its relationship to owning and using a thermometer, and its relationship with prior hurricane evacuations and having experienced the effects of severe weather using a convenience sample of 946 undergraduate students. The WxSQ measurement model exhibits a good fit to the data following a maximum likelihood factor analysis of the items. The results of other analyses reveal that the WxSQ possesses acceptable psychometric properties (Cronbach’s α = 0.83, test-retest reliability coefficient of 0.91). Weather salience was related to the ownership and use of a thermometer and also to being able to correctly distinguish between weather watches and warnings. Differences in weather salience scores also were observed, especially for men, between those students who had (versus had not) evacuated because of a hurricane and between those who had (versus had not) experienced weather-related property damages. The limitations of the study due to the use of an undergraduate sample are discussed along with some possible applications of the WxSQ.
  • Stewart, Alan E.
  • Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society
Weeklong weather science and safety workshops were conducted with 66 teachers of kindergarten through eighth grade (K–8) in three Georgia counties using the American Red Cross (ARC) Masters of Disaster (MoD) curriculum. The workshop goals included building teacher interests in the MoD, increasing teacher knowledge about the MoD curriculum, increasing and evaluating its use by teachers, disseminating information about it to other teachers, evaluating students’ weather science and safety knowledge, and evaluating students’ and families’ weather safety behavior. Workshop participation produced significant increases in teachers’ knowledge about the MoD curriculum, their general knowledge of weather science and safety, and self-efficacy in teaching their students about severe weather. In the year following the workshops, at least 32 teachers from the workshops delivered 178 MoD lessons to 2,465 students in K–8. In a sample of 291 students whose teachers delivered an MoD lesson on lightning, tornadoes, hurricanes, or floods, students obtained a mean of 60% correct responses on a comprehensive postlesson follow-up test. In a follow-up study with a subsample of 94 parents whose children received instruction from the MoD curriculum, 71% of the families indicated that they had developed safety plans and took additional steps (e.g., assembled safety kits, identified evacuation routes, and/or gathered supplies) to prepare for severe weather. This project is thought to be the first of its kind to demonstrate systematically the effectiveness of weather science and safety education for teachers, their students, and the students’ parents.
  • Stewart, Alan E., Knox, John A. & Schenider, P.
  • Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society