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Elizabeth Johnson-Young - University of Mary Washington. Fredericksburg, VA, US

Elizabeth Johnson-Young

Assistant Professor of Communication | University of Mary Washington

Fredericksburg, VA, UNITED STATES

Elizabeth Johnson-Young is an expert on health communication, especially maternal and family health, and media.






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Breastfeeding books and brochures, prenatal yoga classes and pregnancy advertisements often become familiar and even trusted sources of information for expectant parents. But for Assistant Professor of Communication Elizabeth Johnson-Young, they provide a treasure trove of insight for her research, which centers on health communication, family and media.

Dr. Johnson-Young’s recent work has focused on maternal and family health, including breastfeeding intentions, pregnancy body image and pediatrician-parent communication regarding safety and health, especially when it comes to firearms.

She seeks answers to questions like: What is the common media content regarding the topic? How are people talking about the issue, in both face-to-face and interactive media situations? What is the impact of media and communication on the attitudes, beliefs and behaviors of the people involved? Using mostly quantitative and qualitative social science methods, Dr. Johnson-Young researches how and why people use media, what the media content and landscape is, the role of interpersonal communication, and how those and other communication forms impact health perceptions and behaviors.

At UMW, Dr. Johnson-Young has taught courses on communication research methods, public communication campaigns, health communication, gender and communication, and small group.

Areas of Expertise (8)

Gender and Communication

Media Content

Small Group Communication

Public Communication Campaigns

Communication Research Methods

Public Speaking

Health Communication

Pregnancy Body Image and the Media

Accomplishments (1)

UMW Alumni Association’s Outstanding Young Faculty Award (professional)


Education (3)

North Carolina State University: Ph.D., Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media 2015

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University: M.A., Communication 2010

University of North Carolina at Greensboro: B.A., Media Studies, Political Science 2006

Affiliations (6)

  • Journal of Health Communication
  • Health Communication
  • Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication
  • Sex Roles
  • Kentucky Journal of Communication
  • Virginia Association of Communication Arts and Sciences

Event Appearances (4)

“The Situation is a Lot More Nuanced Than That”: A Qualitative Analysis of Women’s Mental Health in the Humor and Music of ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.’

National Communication Association (Feminist and Gender Studies Division)  Virtual Conference

Normalizing Women's Mental Illness and Mental Health Conversations: An Analysis of Humor and Music in 'Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.'

Pop Culture Association (Gender and Media Studies Division), Philadelphia, PA.  

Understanding Pediatric Residents’ Communication Decisions Regarding Anticipatory Guidance About Firearms

National Communication Association (Health Communication Division)  Baltimore, Maryland

Religion and the media: A study of student perception of media bias in Georgia

Association of Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC)  Washington, D.C.

Articles (6)

Understanding Pediatric Residents’ Communication Decisions Regarding Anticipatory Guidance About Firearms

Journal of Health Communication


In 2014, guns were the second leading cause of death among children and teens in the U.S. and it was previously found that approximately 33% of children live in homes with a firearm (Schuster et al., 2000).

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Assessment of Pediatric Residents’ Attitudes toward Anticipatory Counseling on Gun Safety



Guns remain a major cause of injury and death among children. We determined pediatric residents’ familiarity with gun safety campaigns and their gun safety counseling practices.

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The CSR paradox: When a social responsibility campaign can tarnish a brand

Corporate Communications: An International Journal

2019 The purpose of this paper is to explore the corporate social responsibility (CSR) paradox, when a social campaign hurts the sponsoring brand even while raising concern for the campaign issue.

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Predicting Intentions to Breastfeed for Three Months, Six Months, and One Year Using the Theory of Planned Behavior and Body Satisfaction

Health Communication


2019 Breastfeeding is one of the top maternal priorities for many organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO), The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

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Help Me Understand What I Can Expect While I’m Expecting: What Women in a Prenatal Yoga Class Communicate About Body Image, Fitness, and Health

Qualitative Research Reports in Communication


Women experience myriad changes during pregnancy. When it comes to how women negotiate and communicate about their changing bodies, expectations, and health, the research is lacking.

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Collective Efficacy and the Regulatory Framing of Health Messages: Influences on Concern for Body Image

Journal of Health Communication


A collective efficacy scale is presented and used in 2 experiments that tested the effects of collective efficacy and regulatory framing on concern for body image.

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