Xuan Zhu is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and is minoring in Public Health in the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota (exp. graduation in May 2017). Her research studies the effects and effectiveness of public health communication interventions by integrating psychological theories with health communication science.
Her current work focuses on the role of the self in responding to health communication messages. Particularly, she examines why people often respond defensively to personally relevant health communication messages and how this defensiveness can be alleviated. The objectives of this line of her research are (1) to uncover the psychological processes underpinning individuals’ resistance to public health communication interventions and (2) to develop theory-driven, empirically tested intervention strategies that offer solutions to mitigate the resistance. Her additional research interests include the impacts of construal level on health message processing, effects of message framing on health behavioral outcomes, and public health advocacy on social media.
Xuan is a recipient of the University of Minnesota Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship (DDF) 2016-2017, which is a competitive dissertation award that provides the university’s most accomplished Ph.D. candidates an opportunity to devote full-time effort to dissertation research. In addition, her research has been recognized with Top Student Paper Awards from the International Communication Association and the Association for the Education of Journalism and Mass Communication.