College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Xiaoquan Zhao

Xiaoquan Zhao

Xiaoquan Zhao

Health Communication Minor Director

Health communication, persuasion, media effects, information seeking, tobacco prevention, and climate change communication

Xiaoquan Zhao received his Ph.D. (2005) from the Annenberg School for Communication, the University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses on health message design and effects, evaluation of public communication campaigns, health information seeking, information disparities affecting vulnerable populations, news effects on health and risk perceptions, and the role of the self in health behavior and persuasive communication. The substantive topics of his work include smoking, drug use, cancer, medical adherence, and climate change. Dr. Zhao’s recent projects include research on the effectiveness of graphic warning labels on cigarette packets, message testing for FDA's youth tobacco prevention campaigns, evaluation of climate change communication campaigns featuring TV meteorologists as message sources, and studies of self-affirmation as a method to reduce resistance to health and risk communication messages. Dr. Zhao’s has published in leading journals both within and outside of the field of communication, such as the Journal of Communication, Human Communication Research, Communication Research, Communication Monographs, Health Communication, Journal of Health Communication, and Nature Climate Change. His work has received support from both public and private foundations. In 2013-2014, he worked as a Tobacco Regulatory Science Fellow at the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products.

Dr. Zhao joined GMU in fall 2005. The courses he offers include health communication, persuasion, foundations of mass communication, and research methods.

Current Research



Selected Publications

Zhao, X., Mao, Q., Kreps, G, Yu, G., Li, Y., Chou, W-Y., Persoskie, A., Nie, X, Xu, Z., Song, M., & Kim, P. (2015). Cancer information seekers in China: A preliminary profile. Journal of Health Communication, 20(5), 616–626.

Zhao, X., Rolfe-Redding, J., & Kotcher, J. (2014, online first). Partisan differences in the relationship between newspaper coverage and concern over global warming. Public Understanding of Science. Doi: 10.1177/0963662514558992

Zhao, X., Peterson, E., Kim, W., & Rolfe-Redding, J. (2014). Effects of self-affirmation on daily vs. occasional smokers’ responses to graphic warning labels. Communication Research, 41(8), 1137-1158. doi: 10.1177/0093650212465433

Zhao, X., Nan, X., Yang, B., & Iles, I. A. (2014). Cigarette warning labels: Graphics, framing, and identity. Health Education, 114(2), 101–117. doi:10.1108/HE-06-2013-0024

Zhao, X. (2012). Personal values and environmental concern in China and the US: The mediating role of informational media use. Communication Monographs, 79, 137-159. doi:10.1080/03637751.2012.672999

Courses Taught

COMM 230- Case Studies in Persuasion

COMM 400- Introduction to Communication Research

COMM 302- Foundations of Mass Communication

COMM 430- Persuasion

COMM 600- Research Methods

COMM 620- Health Communication

COMM 632- Persuasion

COMM 750- Advanced Research Methods

Dissertations Supervised

Xing Tong, Fatalism and the Processing of Fear Appeals Among Chinese: An Exploratory Study in the Context of Lung Cancer Prevention (2017)

Brenda L. MacArthur, Communication Beyond the Clinical Interaction: Delivering Comprehensive Healthcare to Patients with Intellectual Disabilities (2017)

Emily Peterson , Toward the Development of a Physician Training Curriculum to Improve Discussions about Electronic Cigarettes with Adolescent Athlete Patients (2016)

Wan-Lin Chang , Taiwanese Mother-Daughter Breast Cancer Communication and Its Influence on Daughters’ Prevention Behaviors (2015)