Sun Young Lee

CHRC Research Group Publishes Study on Visual Framing of Disasters

Check out this new study from Assistant Professor Sun Young Lee (pictured), alum Dr. Jungkyu Rhys Lim, and candidate Duli Shi!

Lee, S. Y., Lim, J. R., & Shi, D. (2022). Visually Framing Disasters: Humanitarian Aid Organizations’ Use of Visuals on Social Media. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly.

The present study seeks to systematically describe how humanitarian aid organizations use visuals in their natural disaster-related social media messages and to analyze their effects on social media engagement. Using Rodriguez and Dimitrova’s (2011) four levels of visual framing, we performed a content analysis of 810 tweets from 38 aid organizations. The results showed that, overall, the organizations’ visuals had an emphasis on victims and on disaster relief efforts. The most effective types of visual framing, however, were not those the aid organizations most commonly used. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications.

Victoria Ledford

New CHRC Alumna and Student Research on Messages and Opioid Use Disorders Published in Health Communication

Ma, Z., Ma, R., & Ledford, V. (2022). Is My Story Better Than His Story? Understanding the Effects and Mechanisms of Narrative Point of View in the Opioid Context. Health Communication, 1-9.

Sharing the stories of people whose lives are impacted by Opioid Use Disorders (OUDs) can be a promising strategy to reduce stigma and increase support for beneficial public policies. Since a story can be told from a first-person or third-person point of view (POV), this study sought to (1) determine the relative persuasive effects of narrative POV and (2) identify the underlying psychological mechanisms, including character identification and psychological reactance, of such narratives. A one-way between-subjects experiment was conducted among a college student sample (N = 276). Narrative POV was manipulated by describing a college student’s OUD experience from either the first- or third-person POV. Findings demonstrated that POV did not influence identification but had a significant effect on reactance. Specifically, the first-person (vs. third-person) POV narrative led to lower reactance, which was associated with participants’ decreased desire to socially distance themselves from people with OUDs and stronger support for public health-oriented policies regarding OUDs. This study sheds light on the mixed findings revealed in the literature and has practical importance in health message design in the current opioid epidemic.

Yan Qin

CHRC Alum, Student, and Faculty Publish New Article in Mobile Media & Communication

Qin, Y., Wang, X., & Kang, N. (2021). A meta-analysis of the overall effect of mHealth physical activity interventions for weight loss and the moderating effect of behavioral change theories, techniques, and mobile technologies. Mobile Media & Communication, 20501579211054929

Mobile technologies offer the potential for efficacious and cost-effective lifestyle interventions for weight loss. Extant research indicates that mobile health (mHealth) lifestyle interventions are potentially effective and practical methods of weight loss, but it is less known what intervention characteristics are associated with weight loss effects. This meta-analysis examined the effectiveness of mHealth physical activity interventions for weight loss compared with non-technology/usual care interventions and the moderating effects of behavioral change theories, techniques, and mobile technologies. A total of 24 studies were identified based on inclusion criteria. Weight loss was the primary outcome. The results showed a medium significant effect size (d = 0.395; 95% CI= 0.243, 0.546; Z = 5.107, p < 0.001; N = 5146) favoring mHealth interventions. Interventions were significantly more effective when wearable devices were used (QB = 4.102, df = 1, p < 0.05) and when feedback was employed (QB = 4.566, df = 1, p < 0.05). The implications for future mHealth intervention design are discussed.

Sumin Fang

CHRC Faculty and Alum Publish New Article in Communication Studies

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 […]

Brooke Liu

Professor Brooke Fisher Liu Receives FDA Grant to Study How to Combat Health Misinformation

Professor Brooke Fisher Liu and researchers at the University of Georgia are partnering with the FDA to develop and test messaging strategies to combat misinformation during public health emergencies. Learn more here.

xiaoli nan

CHRC Director and Alums Publish New Article in Health Communication

Nan, X., Iles, I. A., Yang, B., & Ma, Z. (2021). Public Health Messaging during the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond: Lessons from Communication Science. Health Communication, 1-19. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear that effective public health messaging is an indispensable component of a robust pandemic response system. In this article, we review decades […]

Faculty, Graduate Students, and Doctoral Program Alum Publish Chapters in the Updated Routledge Handbook of Health Communication

CHRC faculty and graduate students, and a Maryland alum have co-authored two chapters in the revised Routledge Handbook of Health Communication (3rd edition). Professor Xiaoli Nan and doctoral candidates Yuan Wang and Kathryn Thier co-authored “Health Misinformation.” Assistant Professor Sarah A. Aghazadeh, a graduate of the doctoral program in communication and now at Auburn University, and Professor Dr. Linda Aldoory co-authored “Inroads into Healthy Decision Making: The Role of Health Literacy in Health Communication.” Details below.

Nan, X., Wang, Y., & Thier, K. (2021). Health misinformation. In T. Thompson & N. Harrington (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Health Communication (3rd edition). Routledge.

Research on health misinformation has grown rapidly as concerns about the potential harmful effects of health misinformation on individuals and society intensify amid a “post-truth” era. In this chapter, we provide a broad overview of current research and evidence concerning the many facets of health misinformation, including its sources, prevalence, characteristics (both content and diffusion features), impact, and mitigation. We conclude that health misinformation originates from many sources, most notably mass and social media; is fairly prevalent, both in interpersonal and mediated settings; and tends to feature negative sentiments, anecdotal evidence, and anti-science narratives. Although there is no conclusive evidence that health misinformation spreads more broadly than scientific information, health misinformation reliably leads to misperceptions on health issues. Efforts to mitigate the impact of health misinformation show early promise in correcting misperceptions. We offer several directions for future research.

Aghazadeh, S. A. & Aldoory, L. (2021). Inroads into healthy decision making: The role of health literacy in health communication. In T. Thompson & N. Harrington (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Health Communication (3rdedition). Routledge.

Health literacy, commonly defined as the degree to which individuals can obtain, process, and understand health information, serves as an important determinant of healthy decisions and is central to the work of health communication researchers and practitioners. This chapter outlines the state of the field of health literacy: its definitions, models, measurements, and central debates at the intersection of health communication, medicine, and public health. The chapter includes an example of an applied intervention where a health literacy campaign was implemented in a community. It considers future research directions to position health communication scholars at the front lines of health literacy research, with the hopes of encouraging scholarship that inspires social change, community approaches, and attention to digital media contexts.

xiaoli nan

Professor Nan Receives The Lewis Donohew Outstanding Scholar in Health Communication Award

xiaoli nan

Congratulations to Dr. Xiaoli Nan from the University of Maryland for being named the 2020 Lewis Donohew Outstanding Scholar in Health Communication!

The Lewis Donohew Outstanding Scholar in Health Communication Award was established in Dr. Donohew’s name in 1998 to recognize outstanding research contributions to the health communication field made during the biennium preceding each conference. The list of award recipients includes some of the most highly funded and recognized communication scholars in the world, including Seth Noar, Jeff Niederdeppe, Rick Street, Mohan Dutta, Gary Kreps, Kim Witte, and others.

Dr. Nan will receive the award at the upcoming Kentucky Conference for Health Communication in April:

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CHRC Holds Workshop on Meta-Analysis of Communication Research

Photo: CHRC holds the Workshop on Meta-Analysis of Communication Research

On February 21th, 2020, the Center for Health and Risk Communication held the Workshop on Meta-Analysis of Communication Research. Given by Dr. Seth Noar from the University of North Carolina, the full-day workshop provides a step-by-step guide of how to undertake a meta-analysis. Nineteen participants, including COMM faculty and graduate students, joined this workshop.


CHRC Fall 2019 CHRC Distinguished Speaker – Dr. Rajiv Rimal from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

We are pleased to announce the Center for Health and Risk Communication’s Fall 2019 Distinguished Speaker – Dr. Rajiv Rimal, Professor and Chair of the Department of Health, Behavior, and Society at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Rimal’s talk is entitled: “Social norms as sources of both influence and health communication refraction: Why and how the company you keep matters so much.” The talk is scheduled for December 6th (Friday) from noon to 1:00 pm in Skinner 0200.

About Dr. Rimal:

“Rajiv N. Rimal, PhD, is Professor and Chair of the Department of Health, Behavior and Society at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Rimal is a leading expert on health behavior change and on social norms. His research focuses on the use of social and behavioral theory for disease prevention and harm reduction. Rimal has more than 25 years of experience in the conceptualization, implementation and evaluation of health promotion interventions throughout the world. He is the author of the Theory of Normative Social Behavior, which has informed work to reduce violence against women, improve driver safety among adolescents, reduce anemia among women, and study alcohol consumption among college students. This theory is also being used in numerous interventions to bring about social change.

Rimal’s current research includes a project in India, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, that uses a social norms-based approach to design, implement and evaluate an intervention to reduce anemia among women of reproductive age. Another study investigates how structural changes in health clinics affect service uptake in developing countries. He is also leading studies that aim to understand how people with different political orientations process information about climate change and how mass media and social media can influence people’s attitudes and behaviors related to climate change.

Rimal has served as chair of the Health Communication divisions of both the International Communication Association and the National Communication Association. He was a recipient of the American Public Health Association’s Everett M. Rogers Award for Public Health Education and Health Promotion.

Rimal received a PhD in communication from Stanford University in 1995 and a Master of Arts in journalism and mass communication at Southern Illinois University in 1991.”