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Marifran Mattson

Marifran Mattson

Professor // Communication

School Head // Communication

Office and Contact

Room: BRNG 2126

Office hours: By appointment only


Phone: (765) 494-3300

Fax: (765) 496-1394

Ph.D., Arizona State University
M.A., Marquette University
B.A., St. Norbert College



Marifran Mattson, Ph.D. (Arizona State University, 1995) is Professor and Head of the Brian Lamb School of Communication at Purdue University. Professor Mattson emphasizes the Scholarship of Engagement by exploring the intersection of designing, implementing, and evaluating health communication campaigns, health advocacy initiatives, and service-learning pedagogy.  Prior to being called into academic administration and following a serious accident, Mattson and her students initiated the Motorcycle Safety at Purdue campaign, which integrated her professional interests. She also was involved in passing legislation that mandates health insurance companies to provide coverage for prosthetics in Indiana.  Professor Mattson is a coauthor of two books; Health as Communication Nexus: A Service-Learning Approach and Health Advocacy: A Communication Approach.  In addition, her research has been published in journals including, Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons, Communication MonographsHealth CommunicationHealth Promotion Practice, Health Marketing Quarterly, Journal of Applied Communication Research, Journal of Health Communication, and Social Science & Medicine.

Representative Publications

Public Health Campaigns-needs assessment, design, implementation, and evaluation

While on a year-long fellowship funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Mattson was involved in projects that spawned the following publications.

Haas, E. J., Mattson, M., & Wilkinson, K.  (2011).  “Flirting is Not Consent.  Ask Everyone Every Time”: Designing, implementing, and evaluating a health communication campaign to prevent sexual violence.  Cases in Public Health Communication & Marketing, 5.  Available from Academia.

Mattson, M. & Basu, A. (2010).  Center for Disease Control’s DES Update: A Case for Effective Operationalization of Messaging in Social Marketing Practice.  Health Promotion Practice, 11(4), 580-588.

Mattson, M. & Basu, A. (2010).  The message development tool: A case for effective operationalization of messaging in social marketing practice.  Health Marketing Quarterly, 27(3), 275-290.

Lindegren, M L., Kobrynski, L., Rasmussen, S. A., Moore, C. A., Grosse, S. D., Vanderford, M. L., Spira, T. J., McDougal, J. S., Vogt, R. F., Hannon, W. H., Kalman, L. V., Chen, B., Mattson, M., Baker, T. G., Khoury, M. (2004). Applying public health strategies to primary immunodeficiency diseases: A potential approach to genetic disorders. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly, 53, 1-29.

Motorcycle Safety at Purdue is a comprehensive, team-oriented, funded health communication campaign which incorporates research, teaching, and community engagement. The following publications are from the ongoing Motorcycle Safety at Purdue campaign project.

Haas, E. J., Mattson, M., & Kosmoski, C.  (in press).  Incongruent perceptions about driving a motorcycle: Campaign implications for communicating motorcycle safety to drivers of cars and trucks.  International Journal of Motorcycle Studies.

Mattson, M., Haas, E., Gillig, T., Kosmoski, C.  (2011).  Engaging motorcycle safety in a university community:  Toward a health campaign pedagogy model for community advocacy.  In M. Brann (Ed.).  Contemporary issues in health communication:  Theoretical and practical case studies.  Dubuque, IA:Kendall-Hunt.

Kosmoski, C., Mattson, M., & Hall, J.  (2007).  Reconsidering motorcycle safety at Purdue:  A case study integrating campaign theory and practice.  Cases in Public Health Communication & Marketing.  Available from

Service-Learning Pedagogy

Mattson, M. & Hall, J.  (2011).  Health as communication nexus: A service learning approach.  Dubuque, IA:Kendall/Hunt.

Marthakis, N., Jamison, J. R., Mattson, M., Eisenhauer, M. J., Servaty-Seib, H. L., Nickolson, D. D., & Bryant, J. T.  (2011). Charting a course for service-learning: From curriculum considerations to advocacy.  A faculty development workbook.  Boston, MA:  Campus Compact.

Health Advocacy

Scherr, C. L., & Mattson, M.  (2012).  From research to self-reflection: Learning about ourselves as academics through a support group’s resistance to our intervention. Health Communication, 27, 310-313.

Mattson, M.  (2010).  Health advocacy by accident and discipline.  Health Communication, 25, 622-624

Health Communication Theory, Models, and Methods

Babrow, A., & Mattson, M.  (2011).  Building health communication theories in the 21st century.  In T. L. Thompson, R. Parrott, & J. F. Nussbaum (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of health communication (2nd ed., pp. 18-35).  New York: Routledge.

Mattson, M., & Basnyat, I.  (2008). A harm reduction approach to communication during HIV test counseling.  T. Edgar, S. Noar, & V. Freimuth (eds.).  Communication perspectives for HIV/AIDS in the 21st century.  New York:  Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Dutta-Bergman, M. & Mattson, M. (2006).  Decomplexifying communication strategies in response to bioterrorism: Toward a synergistic crisis communication model.  S. Amass (Ed.).  Purdue University homeland security institute book series, Vol. 1. (pp. 11-36). West Lafayette, IN:  Purdue University Press.

Mattson, M., & Stage, C. (2003). Contextualized conversation: Interviewing exemplars. In R.P. Clair (Ed.), Expressions of Ethnography: Novel approaches to qualitative methods. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

Healthcare Organizations-patient privacy/confidentiality/ethical dilemmas

Brann, M. & Mattson, M. (2004). Toward a typology of confidentiality breaches in health care communication: An ethic of care analysis of provider practices and patient perceptions. Health Communication, 16, 231-251.

Mattson, M. & Brann, M. (2002). Managed care and the paradox of patient confidentiality: A case study analysis from a Communication Boundary Management perspective. Communication Studies, 53, 337-357.

Brann, M. & Mattson, M. (2004). Reframing communication during gynecological exams: A feminist virtue ethics of care perspective. Gendered approaches to applied communication. P. Buzzanell, H. Sterk & L. Turner (Eds.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Aviation Industry-occupational safety

Funded in part by grants from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and United Technologies, the following publications were generated through an ongoing collaborative research effort between the departments of Communication and Aviation Technology which includes professors, graduate students, and undergraduates interacting with industry.

Armentrout-Brazee, C., & Mattson, M. (2004). Clash of subcultures in on-gate communication. In M.A. Turney (Ed.), Tapping diverse talent in aviation: Culture, gender, and diversity. Hampshire, UK: Ashgate.

Mattson, M., Petrin, D.A., Young, J. P. (2001). Integrating safety in the aviation system: Interdepartmental training for pilots and maintenance technicians. Journal of Air Transportation World Wide, 6, 37-64.