Brian Houston

Brian Houston Faculty Member
Professor and Chair
114 Switzler Hall

J. Brian Houston, PhD, is Professor and Chair in the Department of Communication at the University of Missouri and is Director for the Disaster and Community Crisis Center (DCC) at the University of Missouri. He is Core Faculty in the University of Missouri Master of Public Health Program. 

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), and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Research Interests

Disasters. Public, mental, and behavioral health. Resilience. Communication ecologies. Media effects. Persuasion.

Courses Taught

Comm 2500 - Introduction to Communication

Comm 3580 – Crisis Communication

Comm 9610 – Disaster, Risk and Crisis Communication

Select Publications

First, J., Yu, M., & Houston, J.B. (In press). Development and validation of the disaster adaptation and resilience scale (DARS): A measure to assess individual disaster resilience. Disasters. 

Houston, J.B., Thorson, E., Kim, E.A. & Mantrala, M.K. (2021). COVID-19 communication ecology: Visualizing communication resource connections during a public health emergency using network analysis. American Behavioral Scientist, 65(7), 893-913.

Houston, J.B., First, J., & Danforth, L. (2019). Student coping with the effects of disasters media coverage: A qualitative study of school staff perceptions. School Mental Health: A Multidisciplinary Research and Practice Journal, 11, 522-534. doi: 10.1007/s12310-018-9295-y

Houston, J.B., Spialek, M.L., & First, J. (2018). Disaster media effects: A systematic review and synthesis based on the differential susceptibility to media effects model. Journal of Communication, 68, 734-757. doi: 10.1093/joc/jqy023

Houston, J.B. (2018). Community resilience and communication: Dynamic interconnections between and among individuals, families, and organizations. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 46, 19-22. doi: 10.1080/00909882.2018.1426704

Houston, J.B., & Buzzanell, P.M. (2018). Communication and resilience: Concluding thoughts and key issues for future research. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 46, 26-27. doi: 10.1080/00909882.2018.1426691

Spialek, M.L., & Houston, J.B. (2018). The development and initial validation of the citizen disaster communication assessment (CDCA). Communication Research, 45, 934-955. doi: 10.1177/0093650217697521

Houston, J.B., Spialek, M.L., First, J., Stevens, J., & First, N.L. (2017). Individual perceptions of community resilience following the 2011 Joplin tornado. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, 25, 354-363. doi:10.1111/1468-5973.12171

Houston, J.B., First, J., Spialek, M.L., Sorenson, M.E., Mills-Sandoval, T., Lockett, M., First, N.L., Nitiéma, P., Allen, S.F., & Pfefferbaum, B. (2017). Randomized controlled trial of the resilience and coping intervention (RCI) with undergraduate university students. Journal of American College Health, 65, 1-9. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2016.1227826

Houston, J.B., First, J., Spialek, M.L., Sorenson, M.E.,  & Koch, M.  (2016). Public disaster communication and child and family disaster mental health: A review of theoretical frameworks and empirical evidence. Current Psychiatry Reports, 18:54, 1-9. doi: 10.1007/s11920-016-0690-5

Houston, J.B., Spialek, M.L., & Perreault, M.F. (2016). Coverage of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the New York Times, 1950-2012. Journal of Health Communication, 21, 240-248. doi: 10.1080/10810730.2015.1058441

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 Quarterly89, 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 bHouston, J.B., Spialek, M.L., & First, J.* (2018). Disaster media effects: A systematic review and synthesis based on the differential susceptibility to media effects model. Journal of Communication, 68, 734-757. doi: 10.1093/joc/jqy023ias and third-person effect in online news. Electronic News5, 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.