Xinyan ZHAO, Eva 趙心硯

Assistant Professor

Dr. Xinyan Zhao received her Ph.D. in Communication from University of Maryland at College Park, M.Phil. in journalism from Hong Kong Baptist University, and B.A. in Journalism from Fudan University. She formerly worked as a financial reporter and a public relations freelancer.

Dr. Zhao is interested in crisis, risk, and health communication, particularly in the social media context. Her approach is quantitative and computational: She tries to understand the strategic communication process using controlled experiment and large-scale data modelling. As she had a heavy dose of statistics and informatics at Maryland, she is also interested in quantitative research method.

Dr. Zhao is a winner of multiple awards, including Top Faculty Papers from PR Division, ICA (2020) and Info Systems Division, ICA (2018), HKBU Young Scholar Award 2020, Top Student Papers (PR Division, ICA 2017), Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Students Abroad 2016-2017, Research Fellowships at University of Maryland in 2012 and 2013 and so on.

Dr. Zhao's work has been published in top communication specialty journals including Public Relations Review, Journal of Health Communication, Health Communication etc.

Research Interests

Social Media and Crisis Communication
Risk and Health Communication
Social Network/Large-scale data
Social Influence


Zhao, X., Zhan, M., & Liu, B. F. (2019). Understanding motivated publics during disasters: Examining message functions, frames, and styles of social media influentials and followers. Journal of Contingency and Crisis Management, 27, 387-399. doi:10.1111/1468-5973.12279

Zhao, X., & Zhan, M. (2019). Appealing to the heart: How social media communication characteristics affect audiences’ message favorability during Manchester terrorist attack. International Journal of Communication, 13, 3826–3847.

Zhao, X., Zhan, M., & Liu, B. F. (2018). Disentangling social media influence in crises: Testing a four-factor model of social media influence with large data. Public Relations Review, 44, 549-561. doi:10.1016/j.pubrev.2018.08.002

 Zhao, X., Zhan, M., & Jie, C. (2018). Examining multiplicity and dynamics of publics' crisis narratives with large-scale Twitter data. Public Relations Review, 44, 619-632. doi:10.1016/j.pubrev.2018.07.004

 Zhao, X., Yang, B., & Wong, C.-W. (2018). Analyzing trend for immigrants’ e-health engagement from 2008 to 2013. Health Communication, 16, 1-11.

Yang, B., & Zhao, X. (2018). TV, social media, and college students’ binge drinking intentions: Moderated mediation models. Journal of Health Communication, 23, 61-71.

Zhao, X., Zhan, M., & Wong, C.-W. (2018). Segmenting and understanding publics in a social media information sharing network: An interactional and dynamic approach. International Journal of Strategic Communication, 12, 25-45.

Yang, B., Nan, X., & Zhao, X. (2017). Persuasiveness of anti-smoking messages: Self-construal and message framing. Health Education, 117, 398-413. 

Zhao, X., & Nan, X. (2016). Influence of absolute and comparative risk perceptions on cancer screening behaviors and the mediating role of cancer worry. Journal of Health Communication, 21, 100-108.

Zhao, X. (2016). Effects of perceived media diversity and media reliance on public opinion expression. International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 28, 355-375.



Top Faculty Papers, PR Division, 70th Annual Conference of International Communication Association (ICA), Australia, 2020

Top Faculty Papers, Information Systems Division, 68th Annual Conference of International Communication Association (ICA), Prague, 2018.

Top Student Papers, Public Relations Division, 67th Annual Conference of International Communication Association (ICA), San Diego, 2017.

The Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Students Abroad, 2016-2017.

Research Fellowship, University of Maryland, 2012 & 2013.

US-China Education Trust Scholarship, Washington D.C., 2010.

Commercial Radio 50th Anniversary Scholarship, Hong Kong Baptist University, 2010.

First & Second Prize, People’s Scholarship, Fudan University, China, 2006 & 2007.

2015, Research Assistant (P.I.: Dr. Xiaoli Nan, U Maryland), $131,007
Project title: “Sources of food safety information for American consumers”
The Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), United States.