Marifran Mattson

  • Professor; School Head
  • Ph.D., Arizona State University
    M.A., Marquette University
    B.A., St. Norbert College

Department Information

Communication // Faculty

Office Information

  • Office: BRNG 2126
  • Office Phone: (765) 494-3300
  • Office Fax: 765-496-1394
  • Office Hours: By appointment only
  • E-mail:
  • Research

    Dr. Mattson’s integrated research and teaching program emphasizes university-community engagement by exploring the intersection of designing, implementing, and evaluating health communication campaigns, health advocacy initiatives, and service-learning pedagogy. She is particularly interested in exploring the relationship between communication processes and problems related to human health and safety. Theoretically, she seeks to identify critical interactive features to improve communication and reduce harm among people in diverse contexts including public health campaigns, public policy debates, aviation organizations, HIV testing, and patient/healthcare provider confidentiality.  Dr. Mattson’s methodological choices are predicated upon her research questions and typically involve mixed methodologies including observations, interviews, focus groups, and surveys. The Motorcycle Safety at Purdue campaign ( integrates her professional interests.  This campaign was founded with a team of graduate students after Dr. Mattson was involved in a life-altering motorcycle crash.

    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

    • 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.

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