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Sandi Smith - Michigan State University. East Lansing, MI, US

Sandi Smith

University Distinguished Professor | Michigan State University


Sandi Smith is an expert in social Influence, and Interpersonal and Health Communication





8th Annual Walt Fisher Lecture - Sandi W. Smith



An expert in persuasion, communication theory and interpersonal communication. Her research interests parallel these course topics and have been funded by private foundations and governmental agencies. In specific, she has focused her research on the impact of memorable messages received from important others on health behaviors; persuading people to carry signed and witnessed organ donor cards and to engage in family discussion about their decisions related to organ donation, encouraging college students to consume alcohol moderately, if at all; and the portrayal of interpersonal relationships on television.

Industry Expertise (1)


Areas of Expertise (4)

Health Communications

Communication Theory


Interpersonal Communication

News (2)

MSU Faculty Members Awarded Distinguished Professor Title

MSU Today  online


Ten Michigan State University professors have been named University Distinguished Professors in recognition of their achievements in the classroom, laboratory and community.

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High-fat Diet During Puberty Speeds Up Breast Cancer Development

MSU Today  online


New findings show that eating a high-fat diet beginning at puberty speeds up the development of breast cancer and may actually increase the risk of cancer similar to a type often found in younger adult women.

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Journal Articles (3)

To stay or to leave? the role of attachment styles in communication patterns and potential termination of romantic relationships following discovery of deception

Communication Monographs

Su Ahn Jang, Sandi Smith & Timothy Levine

2010 The present study investigated communication patterns and subsequent relational outcomes following romantic partners' deception for people with different attachment styles. Information on attachment styles, information importance of the lie, emotional intensity following discovery of the lie, communication patterns following the discovery of the lie, and relational termination outcomes of the 213 participants who reported being deceived by a relational partner were gathered. Analyses revealed that respondents with a secure attachment style were more likely to report talking about the issue, whereas anxious/ambivalents were more likely to report talking around and avoiding the issue. These two attachment groups reported being apt to continue their relationships. Conversely, respondents with an avoidant attachment style reported being more likely to avoid the person after discovery of the lie, and they tended to report terminating their romantic relationships more than the other two attachment style groups. The results were consistent with the hypothesis that communication patterns following discovery of the partner's deception are related to attachment styles, but information importance and avoiding the person were directly related to relational termination.

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Affective and cognitive reactions to narrative versus statistical evidence organ donation messages

Journal of Applied Communication Research

Jenifer E. Kopfman, Sandi W. Smith, James K. Ah Yun & Annemarie Hodges

2009 Persuasive health messages have been examined for their effectiveness, but few studies have explored the cognitive and affective reactions to these messages. The goal of the present research was to gain insight into the cognitive and affective reactions to statistical evidence and narrative persuasive messages about organ donation in order to determine why these different types of evidence are persuasive. The influence of prior thought and intent about organ donation on these reactions also was explored. Cognitive reactions examined included total, positive, and negative thoughts about organ donation, message ratings, and assessments of causal relevance, while affective reactions examined included positive and negative emotions about organ donation and anxiety. Results indicated a main effect for evidence type such that statistical evidence messages produced greater results in terms of all the cognitive reactions, while narratives produced greater results for all of the affective reactions. A main effect for level of prior thought and intent regarding organ donation indicated that this variable influences both cognitive and affective reactions to persuasive organ donation messages. No interaction effects were found to be significant. In terms of the Heuristic Systematic Model of persuasion, statistical evidence messages were found to enhance both systematic and heuristic processing while narratives were found to enhance only heuristic processing. Implications for health communication practitioners are discussed.

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Distinctiveness and Influence of Subjective Norms, Personal Descriptive and Injunctive Norms

Human Communication Research

Hee Sun Park, Sandi W. Smith

2007 The effects of the attitudinal, normative, and perceived behavioral control (PBC) components of the theory of planned behavior and personal- and societal-level descriptive and injunctive norms were investigated with regard to their impact on the intent to enroll on a state organ-donor registry and the intent to engage in family discussion about organ donation. The results indicated that the 5 types of norms were distinct across the 2 behaviors. Different types of norms served as predictors and as moderators for the 2 behavioral intentions. The effects of attitudes toward each behavior and PBC were moderated by personal descriptive norms for behavioral intention to sign and by subjective norms for behavioral intention to talk with family.

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