Research Areas: Public Health Communication, Disasters, Mental and Behavioral Health
Course Taught: COMM 9610 Disaster, Risk, and Crisis Communication

J. Brian Houston, PhD, is Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Missouri and is Co-Director for the Disaster and Community Crisis Center (DCC) at the University of Missouri.

Houston’s research focuses on communication at all phases of disasters and on the mental health effects and political consequences of community crises. Recent and current research projects have examined the impact of media coverage of terrorism on children and adults, the role of new media during disasters, and the capacity for using information communication technologies to increase community resilience. These projects are located at the intersections of the literatures addressing disasters, communication, media, public health, mental health, and political socialization.

Houston’s work has been supported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), National Institute for Nursing Research (NINR), U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START).

Frequently Taught Courses
Comm 4473 – Political Communication
Comm 3580 – Crisis Communication

Research interests: Communication, media effects, and mental and behavioral health particularly in contexts of disasters and social crises.

Selected recent publications:

Houston, J.B., Spialek, M.L., & Perreault, M.F. (In press). Coverage of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the New York Times, 1950-2012. Journal of Health Communication.

Houston, J.B., Hawthorne, J., Perreault, M.F., Park, E.H., Goldstein Hode, M., Halliwell, M.R., Turner McGowen, S.E., Davis, R., Vaid, S., McElderry, J.A., & Griffith, S.A. (2015). Social media and disasters: A functional framework for use in disaster planning, response, and research. Disasters, 39, 1-22. doi: 10.1111/disa.12092

Houston, J.B., & Franken, N.J. (2015). Disaster interpersonal communication and posttraumatic stress following the 2011 Joplin, Missouri tornado. Journal of Loss and Trauma, 20, 195-206. doi: 10.1080/15325024.2013.848614.

Houston, J.B. (2015). Bouncing forward: Assessing advances in community resilience assessment, intervention, and theory to guide future work. American Behavioral Scientist, 59, 175-180. doi:10.1177/0002764214550294

Houston, J.B., Spialek, M.L., Cox, J., Greenwood, M., & First, J. (2015). The centrality of media and communication in fostering community resilience: A framework for assessment and intervention. American Behavioral Scientist, 59, 270-283. doi: 10.1177/0002764214548563

Houston, J.B. (2013). Long-term sociopolitical effects of 9/11 television viewing, emotions, and parental conversation in U.S. young adults who were children in 2001. Communication Research Reports, 30, 183-192. doi: 10.1080/08824096.2013.806251

Houston, J.B., Pfefferbaum, B., Sherman, M.D., Melson, A.G., & Brand, M.W. (2013). Family communication across the military deployment experience: Child and spouse report of communication frequency and quality and associated emotions, behaviors, and reactions. Journal of Loss and Trauma, 18, 103-119. doi: 10.1080/15325024.2012.684576

Houston, J.B., Pfefferbaum, B., & Rosenholtz, C.E. (2012). Disaster news: Framing and frame changing in coverage of major U.S. natural disasters, 2000-2010. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 89, 606-623. doi:10.1177/1077699012456022

Houston, J.B. (2012). Public disaster mental/behavioral health communication: Intervention across disaster phases. Journal of Emergency Management, 10, 283-292. doi: 10.5055/jem.2012.0106

Houston, J.B., Hansen, G., & Nisbett, G.S. (2011). Influence of user comments on perceptions of media bias and third-person effect in online news. Electronic News, 5, 79-92. doi: 10.1177/1931243111407618

Houston, J.B. (2009). Media coverage of terrorism and traumatic stress: A meta-analytic assessment. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 86, 844-861 .

Houston, J.B., Pfefferbaum, B., Sherman, M.D., Melson, A.G., Jeon-Slaughter, H., Brand, M.W., & Jarman, Y. (2009). Children of deployed National Guard soldiers: Perceptions of parental deployment to Operation Iraqi Freedom. Psychiatric Annals, 39, 805-811.