Yangsun Hong

Assistant Professor

Photo: Yangsun Hong


Room 202

Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2018


Dr. Yangsun “Sun” Hong is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication and Journalism and the combined B.A./M.D. degree program. She is a communication scientist who studies health communication and political communication through a critical lens with quantitative methods. She is a founder and director of C&J’s Digital Media and Communication for Health & Politics Research Group (https://cjdept.unm.edu/research/research-groups/dmc.html). She received her Ph.D. in Mass Communications with Ph.D. minors in Sociology (concentration: Intersectionality) and Educational Psychology (concentration: Advanced statistics) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Areas of Expertise

Health communication; Social determinants of health; Communication inequality; Media and social influence; Perception of media influence; Political participation; Social media.


Dr. Hong situates the relationship between one’s social positions and communication experience at the center of health communication and political communication. With intersectionality as an analytical framework - which highlights how multiple disadvantaged positions mutually construct social experiences -, her research focus on understanding socially situated nature of communication and the influence on individual attributes and behavior. She develops two complementary lines of research with emphasis on the roles of communication in health and social-political wellbeing.  

How communication influence social and psychosocial determinants of health and social-political wellbeing?

  • How do intersectional positions shape communication opportunity and discussion networks? 
  • Does communication opportunity reinforce marginalization and inequality in health and social-political wellbeing (e.g., exposure to health innovation that spreads through social systems)? 

Then, how communication improve health and social-political wellbeing for minority groups? 

  • Can social media attenuate such marginalization and inequality by increasing communication opportunity for minority groups? 
  • How can mass communication influence social context, such as social norms and social stigmas, and thereby reshape community culture? 
  • Does the perception of media influence promote behavior (e.g., health prevention, communicative action, and political participation)?

Current Projects

With these research questions, her current projects include (a) Presumed media influence and social influence, (b) Experience of discrimination as a social determinant of health for low income women of color, and (c) Gender, discussion opportunity structures, social media, and political behavior.

Selected Publications

Hong, Yangsun & Kim, S. (2020).  Influence of Presumed Media Influence for Health Prevention: How Mass Media Indirectly Promote Health Prevention Behaviors through Descriptive Norms. Health Communication. doi:10.1080/10410236.2019.1663585

Barnidge, M., Gunther, A., Kim, J., Hong, Yangsun, Perryman, M., Tay, S. K., & Knisely, S. (2017). Politically Motivated Selective Exposure and Perceived Media Bias. Communication Research. doi:10.1177/0093650217713066 

Hong, Yangsun & Rojas, H. (2016). Agreeing not to Disagree: Iterative vs. Episodic Forms of Political Participatory Behaviors. International Journal of Communication, 10. doi:1932– 8036/20160005. 

Hull, S. J., & Hong, Yangsun (2016). Sensation Seeking as a Moderator of Gain- and Loss- framed HIV Test Promotion Message Effects. Journal of Health Communication. 21(1). doi:10.1080/10810730.2015.1033113 

Kim, H., Lee, D., Hong, Yangsun, Ahn, J., & Lee, K-Y. (2016). A Content Analysis of Television Food Advertising to Children: Comparing Low and General-Nutrition Foods. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 20(2), 201-210, doi:10.1111/ijcs.12243 

Hong, Yangsun & Yoo, W. (2015). Images Say More Than Text: Effects of Pictorial Exemplification in Health News on Promoting Breast Cancer Early Detection Behavior. Health Communication Research, 13(2), 29-59 

Yoo, W., Kim, S. Y., Hong, Yangsun, Chih, M-Y., Shah, D. V., & Gustafson, D. (2015). Patient-Clinician Mobile Communication: Analyzing Text Messaging between Adolescents with Asthma and Nurse Case Managers. Telemedicine and E-health, 21(1), 62-69, doi:10.1089/tmj.2013.0359 

Yoo, W., Namkoong, K., Choi, M., Shah, D. V., Tsang, S., Hong, Yangsun, Aguilar, M., & Gustafson, D. (2014). Giving and Receiving Emotional Support Online: Communication Competence as a Moderator of Psychosocial Benefits for Women with Breast Cancer. Computers in Human Behavior. 30(1), 13-22. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2013.07.024 

Hong, Yangsun, Lee, D., & Yu, H-S. (2012). The Influence of Health News Exemplars on College Students' Optimistic Bias of Breast Cancer Risk Perception and Behavioral Intention to Engage in Preventive Behaviors. Journal of Health and Mass Communication, 3, 61-80 

Hong, Yangsun, & Yu, H-S. (2010). Effect of Perceived Similarity between Exemplars and Recipients on Issue Perception and Health Beliefs. Speech & Communication, 12, 37-67


She received two research grants from the Global Health Institute and from the Center for Research on Gender and Women at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for her dissertation project, ‘Experience of Intersectionality and Perceived Social Influence of Mass Media for Adoption of PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) for HIV prevention among Low-Income Black Women: the Importance of Social Context and Communicative Action.’ 

Dr. Hong is a recipient of the 2017 Doris A. Graber Award for Best Public Opinion Paper from Midwest Association for Public Opinion Research (MAPOR), Top Paper Award from American Education in Journalism & Mass Communication (AEJMC), Korean American Communication Division in 2012, and Top Paper Award from Pacific and Asia Communication Association, 2012.

Teaching Areas

Quantitative research methods; Advanced quantitative methods; Health and  cultural diversity; Theories in health communication; Mass media effects; Social marketing.