Interpersonal Communication and Relationships
Shelly’s areas of expertise include health campaigns, risk communication, and persuasion. She has worked on a range of health topics focusing on how to adopt new, or reinforce existing health attitudes and behaviors using innovative, theory- and data-driven communication research. She has developed and/or evaluated numerous health campaigns for different audiences (e.g., college students, young adults, rural populations, and minority populations) on a range of topics, such as binge drinking prevention, unintended pregnancy prevention, occasional smoking prevention, colorectal cancer screening, smoking cessation, and hazing. She teaches graduate courses in health communication, health campaigns, and persuasion and health.
She is an associate professor in the Department of Community and Behavioral Health as well as the Department of Communication Studies. She is also the director of the Center for Health Communication and Social Marketing.
Dr. Kaitlin Cannava is a social scientist specializing in interpersonal and health communication. Her research examines social support and language coordination, with a particular focus on language style and repetition within conversation. Her primary interests are developing novel interpersonal coding techniques and computer algorithms to automatically map stable and identifiable linguistic trends in supportive communication to enhance understanding of interpersonal conversation dynamics. Her current projects examine (a) the theoretical and pragmatic message features that are associated with better or worse emotional coping, and (b) dyadic language coordination and listening features of patient/doctor interactions. Her research appears in Journal of Language and Social Psychology, Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, and the edited collection Exact Repetition in Grammar and Discourse (De Gruyter Mouton). Dr. Cannava teaches courses on interpersonal conversation as well as communication in everyday life.
Dr. Rachel McLaren studies interpersonal communication, social cognition, and hurtful messages. Her research seeks to clarify the interplay of communication, cognition, and emotion in response to significant experiences, such as hurtful interactions, within personal relationships. She also examines how relationship and situational characteristics influence people’s ability to process relational messages. Her recent work focuses on how relational turbulence influences a couple’s ability to coordinate relational inferences about past hurtful events. Her other interests include examining how interactions within close relationships affect people’s global conceptions of the relationship and, in turn, how those conceptions influence their experiences of particular communication events. Dr. McLaren teaches courses on the dark side of communication and relationships as well as communication and conflict.
Dr. Sylvia L. Mikucki-Enyart studies interpersonal and family communication. Broadly, her work examines how relational partners and families communicate during times of transition—both normative (e.g., transition to in-law bonds) and non-normative (e.g., late-life parental divorce and stepfamily formation). More specifically, Dr. Mikucki-Enyart’s work examines how experiences of relational uncertainty influence interaction goals (one’s own and perceptions of others), which in turn shape message production and message processing as well as relational perceptions. Her current research examines (a) uncertainty/information management, including message features that are associated with successful uncertainty management and positive relational outcomes, and (b) the “bright” side of family bonds during periods of upheaval.