Fang, S., & Aldoory, L. (2021). Acquaintance, Coach, or Buddy?: Perceived Relationships between Chinese Women and Mobile Fitness Technology, Communication Studies, DOI: 10.1080/10510974.2021.2011351 Chinese women are among the most frequent users of fitness technology, and yet the least likely to adhere to a fitness regimen. Little research has been done on preference, use, and perceptions of […]
Lead Researcher: Jiyoun Kim
Summary: This project features experimental studies of online message processing for effective public communication and engagement in issues related to controversial (and sometimes unfamiliar) science and technology. As humans are by nature social animals, for example, this projects examines how social cues expressed in online content stimulate individuals’ cognitive processing and online news engagement intention. One of the goals of this project is empowering the public to make informed decisions. Since people’s rational responses could be impaired or interfered with by emotional arousal and/or mental agitation and most science- or health-related topics involve information under conditions of stress, this project seeks to understand what makes communication the most effective in situations of high concern or controversy.
Lead Researcher: Anita Atwell Seate
Summary: This projects examines the influence of psychological closeness and message framing on sexual health attitudes and behavioral intentions among undergraduate students.
Principal Investigator: Xiaoli Nan
Co-Investigators: Cheryl Holt, School of Public Health, UMCP; Min Qi Wang, School of Public Health, UMCP’ Shana Ntiri, School of Medicine, UMB; and Clement Adebamowo, School of Medicine, UMB
Funding Source: National Cancer Institute; $2,212,269 (2018-2023)
Summary: The 2014 President’s Cancer Panel called underuse of HPV vaccines “a serious, but correctable threat to progress against cancer.” The Cancer Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel, more recently, identified expanding the use of HPV vaccines as a top priority for cancer prevention, especially in medically underserved populations. Effective communication is crucial to widespread adoption of preventive measures against cancer like the HPV vaccines. Built upon recent advances in communication and behavioral sciences, the proposed project seeks to to develop and evaluate a novel, theory-based message framing intervention to accelerate HPV vaccine uptake among African American adolescents. This project aims to 1) develop culturally appropriate messages framed in gains and losses and pretest these messages through community engagement; 2) determine whether/how the effects of message framing (gain vs. loss) on African American parents’ acceptance of the HPV vaccine are moderated by their prior beliefs about HPV and the HPV vaccine; and 3) evaluate the efficacy of a message framing intervention rooted in message targeting principles through a clinic-based randomized trial. Addressing a critical aspect of health disparities disadvantaging the African American community, this research represents a systematic and timely effort to address the national urgency of optimizing communication strategies for promoting HPV vaccination among key stakeholders.
Principal Investigator: Brooke Liu
Funding Source: the Department of Homeland Security
Summary: This project improves governments’ crisis leadership capabilities by determining the attributes of effective crisis communication leadership. The project includes: a comprehensive literature review; interviews with federal, state, local, and/or other crisis leaders regarding their experiences and reflections relevant to crisis leadership; and a mini case study of crisis communication leadership.
Principal Investigator: Xiaoli Nan
Co-Investigators: Robert Feldman, James Butler, Min Qi Wang
Funding Source: National Cancer Institute; $357,552 (2014-2017)
Summary: The overarching purpose of the proposed research is to harness new developments in psychological and communication sciences to address a key obstacle in communication-based smoking cessation efforts – the tendency for smokers to react defensively toward smoking risk information – and apply relevant knowledge to the promotion of smoking cessation among African American smokers. The proposed project seeks to evaluate an innovative approach based on self-affirmation theory to supressing smokers’ defensive processing of smoking risk information in a laboratory-based randomized trial involving African American smokers. Specifically, this project aims to 1) determine whether self-affirmation (vs. no self-affirmation) reduces defensive responses toward graphic cigarette warning labels; 2) ascertain whether self-affirmation (vs. no self-affirmation) leads to more negative explicit and implicit attitudes toward smoking, greater intentions to quit, and reduced cigarette consumption following exposure to graphic cigarette warning labels; and 3) investigate whether smoking identity moderates the effects of self-affirmation. The proposed project addresses a major public health concern as well as significant tobacco-related health disparities. This study will advance scientific knowledge on self-affirmation as a mechanism for reducing smokers’ defensive processing of smoking risk messages. The findings will be directly relevant to the translation of the basic behavioral science underlying smoking risk communication into enhanced smoking cessation approaches. If self-affirmation functions as expected in the proposed randomized trial, a self-affirmation task can be easily implemented in communication-based smoking cessation interventions to enhance the outcomes. The proposed study will also provide direct evidence relevant to the ongoing public health debate concerning the effectiveness of graphic warning labels as a means of communicating smoking risks in the United States.
Co-PIs: Kang Namkoong, Joan M. Mazur
Funding Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health, CDC; $1,356,806 (2016-2021)
Summary: Agriculture is one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States and tractor overturn is the leading cause of farming-related injuries or deaths. Dr. Namkoong has developed a smartphone-based health communication application (eCROPS) to promote an agricultural safety campaign and prevent tractor operator deaths from overturns.
The mobile communication application was designed to enhance social interactions among campaign participants and the effectiveness of a combined approach of agricultural education, health education, and communication to address the significant public health issue in rural communities. Dr. Namkoong also developed virtual reality tractor safety contents for CROPS project (vrCROPS). The vrCROPS was designed as a service embedded in eCROPS to maximize its effectiveness in tractor safety education. Through immersive virtual reality experience, vrCROPS enhances risk perception about tractor-related accidents and self-efficacy on tractor safety behaviors. This project allows us to examine the potential of a virtual reality immersion system in occupational safety education.
Principal Investigators: Brooke Liu, Anita Atwell Seate
Funding Source: the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START)
Summary: Tornados can have devastating consequences, and being able to warn the public about tornadic risk can save lives. Social scientists are prolific in their recommendations on how to “better warn” the public about tornadoes, but they rarely work in partnership with operational forecasters. This begs the question of how applicable social scientists’ recommendations are to the “real world.” The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) just funded new research on how forecasters decide to warn about tornadoes. Associate Professor Brooke Liu and Assistant Professor Anita Atwell Seate will lead a two-year project, which includes interviews with forecasters, ethnographic observation, and a longitudinal survey. The project involves 20 telephone interviews with NOAA forecasters, two months of ethnographic observations at two National Weather Service offices in the Southeast U.S., a baseline cross-sectional survey, and a six-month longitudinal survey. Project website: How Forecasters Decide to Warn: Insights on Tornado Risk Communication from the Southeast U.S.
Lead Researcher: Brooke Liu
Summary: This is an ongoing project aimed at refining and expanding a theoretical model that provides guidelines for effectively integrating new media into crisis management.
Principal Investigator: Daniel Kahl
Co-PIs: Kang Namkoong, Jarius Rossi, Jayoung Koo, Melissa Bond, Sarah Bowker, & Alison Diavis
Funding Source: Food and Nutrition Service, USDA; $450,591 (2015-2018)
Summary: This is a food and nutrition education project funded by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This project aims to promote healthy life choices in underserved populations. In this project, he has developed communication assessment tools to explore the connections between organizations, networks, and systems that often are not in communication with one another.